Elaine Terranova uses an allegory to depict the overall message about life in her poem, “Rush Hour”. This allegory creates the theme that domestic abuse is a serious problem that causes trauma and is unacceptably avoided. Terranova uses the characters in her poem to express this horrific truth about human life. She does not come out and directly say that this family is being abused; she uses these characters as symbols to represent the abuse happening. She uses her diction to portray these images of characters being abused.
Terranova begins her poem by giving the image of a “…baby’s scabbed face…” in a cast, depicting an injury. She then uses the character of the mom who, “…is in shorts and sunglasses,” which is an allusion where the reader should be familiar with that the glasses are covering black eyes(L.5). We know this because Terranova hints this when she states that no one can see what is behind “…her own dark glasses” (L.28-29). All of these are references the reader has to make with this allegory Terranova uses in this poem.
After getting an understanding of what is going on, Terranova then goes to show the effect of this abuse. The mothers body , “sags … and tenses” showing the depression with the way her body sags, and the tense is a reflection of the trauma (L.7-8). Domestic abuse takes a toll on the little ones; we see the little girl symbolizing sadness as her head is just, “…inclining toward the window” without saying a word (L.12).
The issue seems to be a recurring issue as, “she pulls the children to her…thinking of the arm raised over them..” as if she were going through the abuse again (L.29-30). It is inferred that it is reoccurring because the mother pleaded that, “It was an accident,” and that, “He didn’t mean to do it. This is the truth about human life, day to day people face domestic abuse, and most of the time it is avoided.
Courtney from Study Moose
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