Essay: Be Nobody’s Darling by Alice Walker

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  • Subject area(s): English language essays
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  • Published on: January 15, 2020
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  • Be Nobody’s Darling by Alice Walker
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2. The first line of this poem expresses the title “Be nobody’s darling” and follows it with “be an outcast”. Starting the poem in this way sets the tone for the entire poem. These two lines at the very beginning suggest that being an outcast is far better than being someone’s “darling” or favorite person. Why not be your own favorite person? The speaker even shows the more grim side of being an outcast with the lines, “Let them look askance at you / And you askance reply.” The repetition of “askance” is very important, as it briefly shows you a different side of being an outcast. It expresses how sometimes people may not like you, or they might think of you the wrong way, just because you are being your own person. As the poem goes on in the first stanza the speaker states, “Be pleased to walk alone / (Uncool)”, meaning that even though people may look at you funny, you still need to be happy with yourself just as you are.

As the author takes you into the second stanza, which is significantly shorter than the first, the speaker talks about making “a merry gathering / On the bank / Where thousands perished / For brave hurt words / They said.” This basically insinuates that even when you are alone, you are not really alone. There are so many other people who have even died for being different or speaking their own truths. Then as you entire into the third stanza it ties the whole poem together by repeating the first two lines of the first stanza. The poem ends by simply in saying “Qualified to live / Among your dead.” This last stanza is basically saying that it’s almost better to be your own person and relate to the other “outcasts” who have died for their words than it is to be somebody else’s version of yourself.

3. This poem has a very meaningful message. Sometimes in today’s society it’s easy to follow the status quo and “be somebody’s darling” rather than being your own person. Even though people make look at you “askance” for being different or having your own opinions, it’s a good thing to be your own person.

4. Alice Walker was born in 1944 in Eatonton, Georgia. She grew up in a very poor family: her mother worked as a maid in order to support her eight children. When Alice was shot in the right eye with a BB pellet while playing with two of her brothers, she was left felling self-conscious with a very visible difference. After this incident, Walker began to isolate herself from the world around her, turning to books and poetry for comfort. I believe this event in Alice Walker’s life largely influenced her writings; especially this poem in particular. “Be Nobody’s Darling” frequently mentions the idea of being an outcast, which relates a lot to how Walker must have felt after her eye injury. She isolated herself and became an outcast, exactly like the poem mentions.

5. Although, sometimes it may be hard to be your own person in the society of Contemporary America, this poem illustrates that it’s better be one’s own person than it is to be someone else’s person. Who wants to be like everyone else anyway?

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