Analyzing Themes and Imagery in Elissa Hung's Life Experience and Claude McKay's Poem 'Harlem Shadows'

Published: 2024-01-17
Analyzing Themes and Imagery in Elissa Hung's Life Experience and Claude McKay's Poem 'Harlem Shadows'
Essay type:  Analytical essays
Categories:  Poem Literature Personal experience
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 588 words
5 min read

The speaker in this passage is called Elissa Hung, and she is expressing her life experience in Texas. In her story, she has depicted several themes that may include; Cultural theme is portrayed when Hung says 'Cantonese is my first language.' Revealing her first language shows that she values her origin. Hung refers to Cantonese as her first language, meaning she acquired another language. The following language is English. This shows that Hung was learning a different culture from that of her origin. This is seen when Hung records 'We follow her down the hall to a windowless room where we learn English' Cultural theme is clearly described in that statement.

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Historical theme is also outlined in Hung's passage in different incidences. At the beginning of her passage, Hung says, 'I am the eldest child of two immigrants from Hong Kong who met in Texas.' This statement reflects the historical theme of how her parents migrated from Hong Kong. Another part is her last statement in her passage. Hung's records that, 'This is the only memory of ESL that stays with me into adulthood.' This statement shows that Hung still recalls what happened in her childhood, and this shows that she has a history of what happened when she was young. Political theme is portrayed in a scarcely in Hung's passage. When she says that she is a child of two immigrants, her parents migrated from Hong Kong to Texas, and a political aspect is involved in line with migration.

Textual analysis in Hung's story has been depicted in different aspects. The speaker's storytelling strategies are very interesting and simple. As a reader, the passage is easy to understand, and it fascinates while going through it. Hung's in her story, she has used informative language about her personal experience hence making her story flow very well. Another language is where Hung translates blue, red, green, and yellow into laahm, huhng, luhk, and wohng. Symbolism is also portrayed when Hung states, 'Therapist hands me a bottle of wite-Out. I don't yet know what irony is. I'm embarrassed about being the white-out bottle. Imagery is seen when the speaker says, 'Copying her sounds and mouth shapes.' Thematics are seen in this passage because the speaker has discussed different topics in the same passage.

Claude Mckay's Poem "Harlem Shadows"

The poet has used imagery in the passage in different aspects. Imagery is simply using a language that attracts the senses when explaining something to create a visual picture of something (Fulford et al., p.26). First, the poet says, 'Until the silver break of the day.' This is imagery to help the reader create a core picture of how the day was. Another part is where Mckay explains how the night was by stating, 'Through the lone night until the last snow-flake Has dropped from heaven upon the earth's breast.' This statement enables the reader to visualize how the night was until morning.

'The dusky, half-clad girls of tired feet Are trudging, thinly shod, from street to street.' This is imagery explaining how the girls were walking due to the fatigue of moving from one street to another. A historical theme is depicted where the poet uses imagery to describe the point of view on weather and color. It enables the reader to relate his message with the imagery, thus enhancing understanding.


Fulford, Jon, et al. "The neural correlates of visual imagery vividness–An fMRI study and literature review." Cortex 105 (2018): 26-40.

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Analyzing Themes and Imagery in Elissa Hung's Life Experience and Claude McKay's Poem 'Harlem Shadows'. (2024, Jan 17). Retrieved from

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