What Belongs to Us Themes

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.
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Loss

"What Belongs to Us" evokes the idea of loss, even as it suggests that the very idea of possessing anything is an illusion. In item after item, Howe hammers away at the notion that attachment to things defines human beings. By questioning the validity of worldly attachment as a means of comforting oneself, Howe implicitly suggests that it is only by renouncing the worldly that human beings can find true peace. That the speaker of the poem has achieved a kind of spiritual peace is evident in the last line of the poem, when, apparently, she has separated herself from even physical pain.

Nostalgia

Howe's poem both exhibits a persistent nostalgia and emphasizes the idea that such thinking only leads to grief. Nostalgia is a longing for the past, and more specifically defined, a severe homesickness. Marketers, artists, writers, and poets evoke nostalgia to capture audience attention and...

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This section contains 291 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the What Belongs to Us Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
What Belongs to Us from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.