Poetry Analysis Essay on "Reach Out and Touch" by Maxine Tynes

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  702 Words
Date:  2022-11-07


The poem "Reach out, and Touch" is a monologue where the narrator is describing a baby and a mother inside a bus. The poet uses certain words and quotes aimed at informing the audience about the importance of understanding a child as an innocent creature. Maxine uses original words like magic, dipped and electric to pass critical information to the reader. Through the title "Reach out and Touch," we get to know how the child knows that the narrator's hair was electrifying and different from the ones he used to see. The curiosity of wanting to feel the hair would only be satisfied through touching the "curly electric" of the brown-skinned woman's hair. From lines 7-11, the poet uses the terms "slapping hands away." The words explain how parents badly want their children to mind their own business. To avoid interfering with other peoples businesses, they are prevented from "reaching out." Parents are cautious about protecting their children from the pain that may come as a result of them reaching out. The children are naive as indicated in line 11, "why it doesn't come off." The line proves the kids' innocence. Use of the term "electric" in line 3 as a descriptive word creates the nature of the narrator's hair.

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Imagery has been used in the poem. The use of the word 'magic' in the poem, "...in the brown skin magic of my neck..." creates a picture of how the narrator's skin color is different from others. The poem also demonstrates how the parents can be in a position to manage more than one activity at a time. Curly electric hair creates the picture of a black woman as such hair is common in them.

The general tone and mood of the poem are mysterious, whereby; the reader doesn't understand what is going on. It is until the end of the poem when the reader identifies the actions of the kids and how they cost parents by making feel embarrassed. The tone is also severe. The poem addresses a critical issue, racism, facing society. Towards the end, the feeling is a bit uncomfortable as the poem is a bit clear, with a negative mood identified. The speaker reminds the audience of how childhood actions embarrassed parents. Through imagery and connotation, as expressed by the line "dipped in the brown skin magic" the poet expresses his feelings and tone. The atmosphere of the poem is curiosity and wonder. The actions of children indicate this. The child is most likely not used to seeing humans in a different color and therefore was curious to find out why the woman looked different. Maxine has a positive tone to the poem. She is accepting and calm as she does not react to the child's actions. The narrator was okay with the child being curious. The mother's tone was different, as she was flustered, increasing chances of her mood being of agitation and annoyance. The mood of regret is also evident as indicated by the line "I should have sat beside you..." The narrator regrets her current position as she is not able to comfort the child.

Several themes emerge in the poem "Reach Out and Touch" by Maxine Tynes. When the narrator says, "I turn and smile for you..., I should have sat beside you, snuggled up to my big warm self up close" the theme of forgiveness is evident in the poem. Maxine proves acceptance of the natural curiosity of the child. The line gives the reader a clear picture of how the narrator wished to have sat next to the kid to assure him all was well. The theme of curiosity also emerges when the poet says "wondering out loud why it doesn't come off" this indicates the level of curiosity kids have for the unknown.


The theme of racism is evident in the poem. The brown-skinned woman understands the kid's actions despite the racial differences. As seen from Maxine's perspective in the line "we are born innocence until aught otherwise" indicates how lifestyle and how kids are brought up can lead to racism. Through her reactions, Madeline shows how the skin color does not represent a big difference, as all humans are equal.

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Poetry Analysis Essay on "Reach Out and Touch" by Maxine Tynes. (2022, Nov 07). Retrieved from https://midtermguru.com/essays/poetry-analysis-essay-on-reach-out-and-touch-by-maxine-tynes

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