An Analysis of the Poem Miss Rosie by Lucille Clifton

Clifton’s use of repetition in the poem “miss rosie” displays the narrator’s compassion for Miss Rosie, thus showing he is the only one who’s been affected by her. By repeating the same phrase multiple times, emphasis is put on the fact that no one besides the narrator is compassionate for Miss Rosie. For example, when the narrator states, “when I watch you / wrapped up like garbage” (1-2), “when I watch you / in your old man’s shoes” (6-7), and “when I watch you / you wet brown bag of a woman” (12-13), Clifton indicates the narrator is the only one looking at Miss Rosie, because of her use of singular pronouns, rather than plural.
If the narrator is the only one paying any attention to Miss Rosie, he must be concerned for her in some way, which further shows his compassion for her. This is a result of her affecting him and only him. Another portrayal of this compassion for Miss Rosie is demonstrated in the following quote, “I stand up / through your destruction / I stand up” (16-18). Once again, Clifton uses a singular pronoun to prove the narrator is the only one who’s been affected by Miss Rosie.
Since the narrator is the only one standing up against Miss Rosie’s destruction, he proves to be the only one who shows compassion for her due to being affected by her. Repetition of these phrases helps to show how the narrator is the only one affected by Miss Rosie because they indicate no one besides the narrator is compassionate enough to do something about it.

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