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Reach Out and Touch – Maxine Tynes Essay

1. Each woman on the bus reacts to the child’s actions differently. The narrator reacts by smiling at the children because she knows that this is neither the first nor the last time this will happen, while the mother of the children reacts by slapping their hands to make them stop touching the woman.

2. A theme statement expressing my interpretation of the main idea in this poem would be: Children are those who don’t understand the differences between people and in order to accept them, they not only have to see, but also “to reach out and touch”. An example supporting my statement is “and touch the curly electric of my hair your fingers dipped in the brown skin magic of my neck to see if it comes off”.

3. The tone and mood of the poem are mysterious at the beginning when it is not clear what is really going on, but kind of uncomfortable at the end when the reader identifies what the children had done and how they have made their mother feel embarrassed from their actions. Maxine Tynes uses imagery, comparison and connotation (“dipped in the brown skin magic”) to convey this mood and tone.

4. Irony surrounds the “motherlove” in this poem because a mother’s love means to caress her children with love and affection instead of teaching them morals especially in public places. However, in the poem the mother slaps her kids when she sees them touching the black woman.

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