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In a Significant Shift, Speaker gets Last Laugh

posted Jan 19, 2011 16:31:03 by jgcabs
In "You Laughed and Laughed and Laughed" by Okara, the speaker is repeatedly made fun of and criticized but a shift mid-way through the poem gives the speaker the last laugh. The poem starts off with the speaker being criticized and laughed at for: the music he/she listens to, the way the speaker dances, the speakers race and when the speaker has car troubles. The speaker says in lines nine and ten, "You laughed at my song/ you laughed at my walk". The speaker's race is also made fun of when the way the speaker dances and the music the speaker listens is laughed at. The poem takes a sudden shift in line twenty one when the speaker turns the table. The reader sees a sudden shift when the speaker says, "You laughed and laughed and laughed/ But your laughter was ice-block" (20-21). The speaker now has control and exposes the the cold and insecure soul of the poetic "you". The speaker makes it known that the poetic "you" can insult me and laugh all you want but remember where you came from, that without the speaker you wouldn't be here today. The speaker says "My laughter is the fire/of the eye of the sky, the fire/of the earth, the fire of the air...and it thawed your inside/thawed your voice thawed your/cars, thawed your eyes and/ thawed your tongue" (29-37). The speaker does a great job of gaining control making the poetic "you" think hard about themself. The significant shift in the poem leaves the speaker with the last laugh.
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