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Maxine Tynes’ poem “Reach out and Touch” Essay

With Maxine Tynes’ poem Reach out and Touch, the title suggests that the poem literally is about a person reaching out and touching objects or people. Tynes suggests that the more mature generation should reach out and help others more often, and maybe touching someone’s heart should be all worth it.

The first 6 lines of Tynes’ poem, describes how the curiosity of a child. Line number 6 “to see if it comes off” proves that the child’s intentions were purely curiosity. The use of “electric” in line 3 was a very descriptive and vivid word to describe the poet’s bouncing curls. The author used these specific worlds and quotes to tell us that we should learn the innocents of a child and reach out to learn about the people around you. Without the “reaching out and touching”(2 & 3) part, the child wouldn’t have known that the person’s curly hair was electrifying (great curls).

From lines 7 to 11, the mother, fear of bothering the person sitting in front of them, slapped the child’s hands away. With line 9 “hush-up of your questions” the poet is trying to make an analogy, as if “slapping hands away” (8) is what adults usually do. They don’t want their children to meddle into other people’s business, and in order to do that, we must not reach out to others. “What if reaching out in turn could cause the children pain”, is usually what the parents are thinking about. But children are too naïve to think that way. In line 11 “why it doesn’t come off” proves this innocence.

The remaining lines of the poem started out with poet’s attitude shifting towards sympathetic/empathetic, when they were playful and unaware of the characters to begin with. The shift starts on line 13 with the word “but..” which indicated the child was upset from not able to cure their curiosity or the poet was trying to suggest was that the child was upset from not letting their caring personality portray through. “..in the fear that mother love wraps you in” is when the poet uses personification to show us that though mother love helps us grow, reaching out amongst friends is also a good thing.

The title Reach out and Touch has a meaning beyond the literal. It is about reaching out to those of need and touch their hearts. With such a short poem, Maxine Tynes was able to effectively illustrate the importance of reaching out and touching lives of other people. Whether it is a lovable hug or just a word of friendly advice, this type of reaching out could be the key to a better world. The message the poet was trying to portray was to tell readers that socialize with an open-heart, and you will be amazed how someone’s actions can touch your heart. By using subtle words of play, for example words like “magic,” “warm,” and “okay,” Maxine Tynes was able to portray just that.


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