In Richard Wrights poem Between the World and Me he uses imagery, personification, and empathy to portray the gruesome tale of a black man that was lynched and lay in a pile of bones and ashes at the base of a tree. Wright uses personification to give this poem life and give the speaker in the story the ability to amplify his emotions. In the beginning of this poem the speaker describes the scene as “guarded by scaly oaks and elms” as to say that nature guarded and preserved the scene.
The speaker gives the woods fife and creates an eerie feeling by saying “the woods guarded the scene. ” Then he moves towards a discovery Of “white slumbering bones” giving them human abilities of sleeping, which symbolize the eternal sleep of death. He uses this description early in this poem to say that someone has died here, and this was their final resting place. Wright also uses lots of detail and imagery in the structure of this poem. For example when he said ‘ ‘The sun died in the sky; a night wind muttered in the grass and fumbled in the leaves in the trees.
In this paragraph Richard Wright portrays the sky turning a dark color and the trees swaying back and forth as if there was a great storm coming. He built up the intensity and created a picture with words. To give this poem empathy Wright says “And while I stood my mind was frozen within cold pity for the life that was gone. The ground gripped my feet and my heart was circled by the icy walls of fear. ” This creates a feeling of deep empathy because he then goes into detail about how he can feel the dark cold bones melting themselves into the speaker’s bones, and the gray ashes that formed lack flesh and merged with his flesh.
It is as if he is sharing the feeling with the body he found at the base of the tree when he said “Now I am dry bones and my face a stony skull staring in yellow surprise at the sun. “