Incident by Natasha Tretheway - Essay Example

Published: 2024-01-01
Incident by Natasha Tretheway - Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Racism Poem
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 609 words
6 min read


The poem "incident" by Natasha Trethewey utilizes many poetic devices to illustrate to the readers the essence of narration from her childhood. Trethewey narrates how each year, the Ku Klux Klan members harassed her friends, family, and all other individuals of racial intolerance. Trethewey uses both image and tone to relay to her audience. This paper analyzes the poem "incident" by Natasha Trethewey by outlining the images used in their tones.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!


We peered from the windows; shades drawn-this image illustrates fear (Trethewey 119 Line 5). By using the word "peer," Trethewey places emphasis on the fright felt at that moment. The tone used here is ominous.

The charred grass now green again (Trethewey Line 7)- the incidents of that day are still memorable. The narrator uses a knowledgeable tone, seemingly understanding the events of that day more today.

The cross trussed like a Christmas tree (Trethewey Line 6) -the cross and Christmas tree illustrate that the Ku Klux Klan acted based on religious views that were outdated, yet the black community they attacked was very religious. The tone used here is that of innocence. The narrator compares an ugly event to the beautiful Christmas tree.

The charred grass still green (Trethewey Line 4)-illustrates that the dark moments of the events are always memorable. The narrator uses a repetitive tone.

We darkened our rooms (Trethewey Line 11) -in fear, the poet and his family do not want their presence discovered by the racist bigots; hence they darken their rooms. The tone here is trembling.

Lit the hurricane lamps (Trethewey Line 11) -illustrates the period in which these events occur. And the hurricane lamps being the only remaining light sources. The tone here is trembling.

A few men gathered (Trethewey Line 10) - the family was afraid of what could happen as they watched the white men gather around the trussed cross. The tone used here is a concerned, trembling tone.

[Men] white as angels in their gowns (Trethewey Line 10)-the white men were the Ku Klux Klan. The narrator uses a tone of innocence, not knowing what’s going on, hence describes the men as angels.

The wicks trembling in their fonts of oil (Trethewey Line 15)-is an illustration of the fear felt in the room. The tone used is that of secretiveness, hiding from the KKK racists such that they feared anything could make their presence known.

The angels had gathered (Trethewey Line 13)-The Ku Klux Klan are the angels here who oppress the people, yet the narrator uses a concerned, repetitive tone used.

White men in their gowns (Trethewey Line 13)-This is an image description of the Ku Klux Klan. The tone used here is repetitive.

The flames had all dimmed (Trethewey Line 16)-illustrates the sense of relief felt by the narrator as they could not be afraid anymore. The tone used is innocence since the narrator does not understand the oppression that took place through the flames.

The men left quietly-after oppression of the people; the Ku Klux Klan men left quietly; the narrator innocently suggests that no one went to their home.


In “Incident” by Natasha Trethewey there is use of tone and images by the narrator to outline the continuous nature of the apathy towards the black issues in the back community as poisonous. In the innocence of the narrator at the time of the incident, she still believes that something happened. Through the poem, we learn of the historical violence that originated from the intolerance of racial indifferences.

Works Cited

Trethewey, Natasha. "Incident." The Virginia Quarterly Review 80.2 (2004): 119.

Cite this page

Incident by Natasha Tretheway - Essay Example. (2024, Jan 01). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism