Analyzing the poem "Guilt" by Leona Gom

Essay by ahmadsjan October 2006

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The poem, "Guilt," by Leona Gom addresses four examples of memories that bear a burden of guilt within them which the narrator can't get rid of. In this poem, the narrator, who is speaking in the second person, is most likely a female because a mother usually doesn't give a set of dishes to a male.

The structural layout in this poem suggests that a progression of ideas is taking place. The poem is divided into two stanzas; the first stanza indicates struggle and conflict, while the second stanza, on the other hand, indicates despair and is relatively smaller than the first stanza. The purpose of this is to show how big the burden of guilt the narrator is carrying around.

In the first line of the second stanza, there is a metaphor in, "thousands of them, little knots." The narrator relates in this line the thousands of guilt feelings to the knots that you can't "shake loose" because they are very tight and there are thousands of them tied together.

She experiences shock and guilt as she says, "whenever you think / you are not a bad person, there / they come, little lumps of guilt." In these lines, she describes how big burdens of guilt never leave you and come up to you whenever you think you are not a bad person. There is a metaphor in, "little lumps of guilt." The narrator compares the big burdens of guilt to lumps likes tumors or other swellings in the body. In the last line of the poem, there is a simile in, "like doctors, keeping you sick." The narrator uses personification to compare the feelings of guilt to doctors who are keeping you sick. Because she describes the feelings of guilt as lumps in your body that can never...