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Reading reflection A quote reflection should be a close reading of your selected quotation. What literary devices does the writer use? Are there repeated words or sounds? What do you notice if you read the quotation aloud? How do these details affect your reading of the broader text? As you start to notice patterns, ask what they are doing. Even a short quotation can provide a jumping off point for a more complex reading of your text. “Sometimes when you have worked day and night, dog tired, and want to have a good sleep after a shower and an extra nightcap, they come. They change the color of your dream: you moan for the wounds on your body, you weep for the fates of others. Only now you dare to fight back with your hands, but a “bang” or an “ouch” brings you back to silence and sleeplessness again.” (Stanza 4, They Come, by Ha Jin (1996))The attachment is the whole poem and a previous example of what a poem reflection should look like.
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Reading reflection
A quote reflection should be a close reading of your selected quotation. What literary
devices does the writer use? Are there repeated words or sounds? What do you notice if you
read the quotation aloud? How do these details affect your reading of the broader text? As
you start to notice patterns, ask what they are doing. Even a short quotation can provide a
jumping off point for a more complex reading of your text.
“Sometimes when you have worked day and night,
dog tired, and want to have a good sleep
after a shower and an extra nightcap,
they come. They change the color of your dream:
you moan for the wounds on your body,
you weep for the fates of others.
Only now you dare to fight back with your hands,
but a “bang” or an “ouch”
brings you back to silence and sleeplessness again.” (Stanza 4, They Come, by Ha Jin (1996))
They Come
BY HA JIN
Sometimes when you’re walking in the street,
returning home or leaving to see a friend,
they come. They emerge from behind pillars and trees
approaching you like a pack hounding a sheep.
You know it’s no use to hide or flee,
so you stop and light a cigarette, waiting for them.
Sometimes when you’re eating in a restaurant,
your soup served and your dish not ready yet,
they come. A steady hand falls upon your shoulder.
You are familiar with such a hand
and don’t need to turn around to meet the face.
The scared diners are sneaking out,
the waitress’s chin is trembling when she speaks,
but you are sitting there waiting for the bill.
After settling it you’ll walk out with them.
Sometimes when you open your office,
planning to finish an article in three hours,
or read a review, but first make some tea,
they come. They spring out from behind the door
like ghosts welcoming a child to their lair.
You don’t want to enter, seeing cups and paper on the floor.
You are figuring how to send a message home.
Sometimes when you have worked day and night,
dog tired, and want to have a good sleep
after a shower and an extra nightcap,
they come. They change the color of your dream:
you moan for the wounds on your body,
you weep for the fates of others.
Only now you dare to fight back with your hands,
but a “bang” or an “ouch”
brings you back to silence and sleeplessness again.
See, they come.
Quote Reading Reflection Example:
Quote:
“From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.” Li-Young Lee, “From Blossoms,” stanza 2
Reflection:
“From” is the first word of the second stanza, as a more direct list of “froms” issues like a
genealogy of peaches: “From laden boughs, from hands, / from sweet fellowship in the
bins,”. “Hands” stands out in this list as an exception. Unlike the “laden boughs” and
“sweet fellowship in the bins,” the hands are divorced of a setting or context. They might be
the hands that picked the peaches, the hands that packed the peaches into bins, the hands
that turned the brown bag over to the poem’s “we,” or all of these.
“Boughs,” a word that refers to the larger limbs of a tree, through its association with limbs,
connects to the hands, creating a hybrid tree/human body in which boughs arms end in
human hands. This mixing precedes the “sweet fellowship in the bins,” suggesting that
perhaps, to the poem’s speaker, this intermingling of plant and person is beneficial to both.
It also makes me think of the tree as handing the peaches to the person picking them.
After all the “froms,” we get to the yields: nectar, peaches, dusty peach skins, summer dust.
That we end on dust is compelling, first because “dust” suggests death, as in the Anglican
funeral service phrase “dust to dust.” Second, it is an odd thing for the boughs, hands, and
fellowship to produce. Everything else is a part of the peaches, but the dust comes from
without, and yet, surprisingly, is eaten. I’m not entirely sure what to do with the dust in this
stanza. Why is it partnered with the nectar, peaches, and peach skins? Is the dust also
necessary, or it is a happenstance byproduct of the intermingled tree and person? What does
it mean that the “we” of the poem eats it? The alliteration and repetition suggests it’s
important.
(303 words)

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