Climbing Essay

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Ketteler has taught literature and composition. In this essay, she discusses Lucille Clifton's use of an extended metaphor to highlight the importance of both personal and political struggles of black women.

"Climbing," by Lucille Clifton, is a poem about possibility and about rising to meet the challenges that life presents. Clifton's poetics are down to Earth; her language is straightforward and her images are sharp. She uses an extended metaphor of climbing a rope to paint a vivid picture of the struggle, as well as the beauty, inherent in black womanhood as she has experienced it.

The title of the poem is key: It sets the mood. It is not called "To Climb" or "The Climb" but "Climbing." Climbing creates motion, implying active movement in the present. This is more than a story of past climbs; it is about the everyday climb of the present moment and...

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This section contains 1,311 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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.