The Performance of Becoming Human Symbols & Objects

Daniel Borzutzky
This Study Guide consists of approximately 33 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Performance of Becoming Human.
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Light

Light, in the poem "Let Light Shine Out of Darkness," refers to the possibility of the body's movement in a world congested with images of mutilation. At the same time, light also signifies the speaker's newfound awareness of his body's self-alienation. Synthesizing these two meanings opens up a third connotation for light: the illuminating light of awareness, coupled with the lightness of mobility, leads to the light of hopefulness for a better future.

The Gag

The gag makes its first appearance early, in the titular poem "The Performance of Becoming Human." The gag signifies the silencing of minority and otherwise vulnerable bodies by local manifestations of state power: "He wants to know what color the gag was, what it was made / of, how many mouths had licked it. Hundreds, thousands, / tens of thousands?" (14). Later, state power is figured more in the abstract, morphing into an abstract...

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This section contains 931 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Performance of Becoming Human Study Guide
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