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The Boy Summary
Marilyn Hacker

Everything you need to understand or teach The Boy by Marilyn Hacker.

  • The Boy Summary & Study Guide

The Boy Summary


Marilyn Hacker's poem "The Boy" first appeared in the Breadloaf Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry in 1999 and is the opening poem in her 2000 collection, Squares and Courtyards. Written in eight rhyming stanzas, the poem explores the roles of gender, race, and writing in shaping identity. Hacker is known for her new formalist meditations on history, womanhood, and the "stuff" of everyday life. This poem addresses all three. As the narrator imagines herself as a boy completing a school assignment, the poet muses on the boy's life, his way of looking at the world, his relationship to gender, and his own identity as a Jew. Part fantasy, part character study, "The Boy" investigates the fluidity of human identity, pokes at the boundaries that separate one person's life from another's, and interrogates the ways in which human beings are called on to be one thing or another.

Hacker wrote the poem...

(read more from the Study Guide)

Study Pack

The The Boy Study Pack contains about 37 pages of study material in 3 products, including:

The Boy Study Guide

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