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When we are children we see our fathers in a favorable light, until we are old enough to see them as they are. Many people have unresolved resentment with their fathers that bubbles to the surface often throughout there entire lives. Both the poems “forgiving my father” by Lucille Clifton and “Father from Asia” by Shirley Geok-Lin Lim deal with this issue. Both speakers in the poems have the reoccurring need to resolve their anger towards their fathers critical mistakes, and flaws.
In “forgiving my father” the speaker of the poem is angry with her deceased father’s lack of financial support for her deceased mother. The poem indicates that the father was not financially supportive when it says “you are the pocket that was going to open and come up empty any friday.” Although both parents are gone she still wrestles with the anger that she has for her father. The poem claims that he did not pay the bills and for this she is angry, but there is a deeper meaning behind this financial aspect. The first two lines in the poem state, “it is friday. we have come to the paying of the bills.” This phrase is in the present tense, and means that she will now deal with her anger and the emotional debts left by her father. She starts the poem thinking that somehow she can change the past, but toward the end she realizes that she can not when she says “what am I doing her collecting? you lie side by side in debtor’s boxes and no accounting will open them up.” In this poem accounting means that she is looking for a reason for her fathers actions. She cannot ever expect to find out why he never provided for there family financially or emotionally because he is dead. She has been scared by her father’s actions, and we know this because it is a cause for so much anger. Why would this pattern of outstanding debt still be an issue to the speaker after her parent’s deaths? It is shown that this continually bothers h...
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