Perhaps the World Ends Here Analysis
It is estimated that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. The earliest fossils resembling Homo sapiens date back to roughly 200,000 years ago. Though there are many beliefs, two opposing concepts explain how human life came to be: the biblical story of Adam and Eve and Evolution. Nevertheless, each human being has a set of instincts and basic necessities to survive i.e. shelter, love, air, water, and food. In most common households nowadays, the need for food is achieved within a kitchen, and consumed around a table. In Joy Harjo’s poem Perhaps the World Ends Here, Harjo uses figurative language, introspective tone, and imagery to demonstrate the literal and abstract significance of a kitchen table in every person’s life.
“The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.” Joy Harjo begins her poem with these words. Concretely, we must use the table as a place to eat. As the poem progresses, Harjo delves into more abstract uses of a table. She describes how life around the table will change, but the table remains. “We have given birth on this table, and prepared our parents for burial here.” In my opinion, Harjo is trying to convey the significance of a kitchen table. She tells of how both simple, insignificant conversations and monumental events will take place around this piece of furniture throughout life. I believe Harjo is demonstrating how the “kitchen table” is the common factor in the things we do that bring people together. “At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks” The table is a way to stay connected with the people closest to us. Harjo ends the poem with the thought that perhaps the world will end just as it began: around a kitchen table.
Throughout the poem, Harjo uses many different forms of figurative language. The “kitchen table” takes on a symbolic presence in everyday issues. It stays within the kitchen as a place...