What Belongs to Us Summary & Study Guide

Marie Howe
This Study Guide consists of approximately 19 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of What Belongs to Us.
This section contains 663 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Lines 1-5

"What Belongs to Us" is a list poem, the subject of which is signaled by the title. Think of how lists are made, with a subject such as "Stuff to do on the house," or "Chores." However, Howe inverts the subject, and instead of listing "what belongs to us," she lists what doesn't belong "to us," "us" being humanity. She begins the poem with an item familiar to most readers: memorized phone numbers. On a literal level, the reader can't own the numbers because they are someone else's numbers. On another level, they are a product of memory and circumstance, both of which change with time (i.e., people lose their memories, and people move and get new phone numbers). The "short cuts home" also don't belong to people, as the short cuts exist outside of them, and the childhood summer she remembers is long gone...

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This section contains 663 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the What Belongs to Us Study Guide
Copyrights
Poetry for Students
What Belongs to Us from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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