Suicide Note -Janice Mirkikitani

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The poem Suicide Note by Janice Mirikitani introduces itself with a small paragraph explaining how an Asian-American student reportedly jumped to her death after being unable to obtain a perfect four point grade average. What follows is the girl?s suicide note, an apology to her parents in poetic verse, which is expressed in an understandably melancholy tone. The speaker in Suicide Note uses much symbolism to try to express the extent of her sorrow; additionally, she articulates her own feelings of inadequacy while at the same time delicately portraying the futility of the entire situation.

The very first simile in the poem, ?ink smeared like birdprints in snow.? (2) alludes to a metaphor that continues throughout the poem in which the author describes herself as a sparrow. The simile itself serves multiple purposes, the first and most obvious of which is the imagery it creates, comparing the black words she is writing on the paper to the footprints a bird would leave as it walks through snow.

However, upon further reflection it also becomes apparent that the speaker is leaving her mark on the paper, just as a bird would in the snow, for others to find after she is gone.

The overall metaphor of the speaker as a sparrow, however, serves a different purpose and is used to accentuate her femininity. It is very obvious that, at least in the speakers eyes, her parents would have loved her much more if she were male: ?If only I were a son [?] / I would see the light in my mother?s / eyes, or the golden pride reflected / in my father?s dream / of my wide, male hands [?]? (10-14). So, throughout the poem the speaker expresses her perceived weakness as a woman by comparing herself to a sparrow,