Climbing Essay

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Semansky publishes widely in the field of twentieth- century poetry and culture. In the following essay, he considers how Clifton's poem uses the idea of doubling as a strategy for self-reflection.

Clifton uses the image of the doppelganger to reflect on the life that she's had and to envision her future life. Doppelganger is a German word for alter ego, or other self, and it marks just one of the "doubling" techniques Clifton uses in "Climbing." The doppelganger motif is popular in literature and has been used by many poets and writers, including Edgar Allen Poe, Octavio Paz, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Writers often create versions of their other selves as mirrors of sorts to provide them with a clearer picture of their own lives. These representations are often either idealized or demonized projections of a part of the writer. For example, in...

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This section contains 1,115 words
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Buy the Climbing Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Climbing from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.