New York is known for its tourist and culture. People seldom recognize the
problems that remain in the ghetto areas, filled with lower class and poverity str-
icke ncitizens struggling to make it another day. Mos Def, in the song "Respiration",
address many of the issues that are not discussed. He is able to effectively explain
the obstacles these people face in life by using many differnt literary devices.
Irony is one of the devices used to vividly show how hard life can be. He
says, "can't tell between the cops and the robbers, they both partners." This irony
works by explaining how 'dirty cops' operate. A police officer is suppose to ba an
idol that protects the people from bad indivuals. Instead, this police officer is
working with drug dealers and other bad influences to make more money and have power.
With no help from the authority the people who do want a good community are in the
minority and are unable to make a difference because of corrupt law enforncement and
lack of protection.
Using a simile, Mos Def is able to illustrate another obstacle that is faced.
This obstacle is a direct result of the inadequate police officers. "My eagle talons
stay sharpened; like the city lights stay throbbin," Def says. The statement is a
reflection of the violent activities present. People are forced to stay prepared for the
worst, therefore, forced to carry weapons for the unexpected. The comparison to the
city lights is efficient because the city lights are always goin to stay on; therefore,
Def is saying he will always be carrying some form of protection. Living life in fear
is an obstacle faced by New Yorkers because they never know what type of crazy person
will try to attact them.
The last device used by Def to elaborate even more on an obstacle that plays
a major role is imagery. "Back streets stay darkened, where unbelievers hearts stay
hardened," lets us realize how the people really felt. When you think of darkness,...