In the poem called Unveiling by Linda Pastan, the author invokes a reflective and calming tone to present an optimistic and mature view of death. It is about a child at a funeral who feels left out for not knowing what death is about. The poem offers a sense of innocence and reminisces back to the years when that innocence develops into maturity as the child’s curiosity and blindness are unveiled.
With this poem, Pastan expresses the theme that wisdom comes from age. Pastan leaves very little to the imagination and is straightforward from the start by stating, “In the cemetery,” which automatically gives the idea that someone died. It can be implied that she comes from a very family-oriented background because she refers to the cemetery being only a few miles away from where “we” used to live. “We” are referring to her father, mother, aunts, and uncles having lived together and until the end are buried the same way they used to sit around the dinner table; thereby showing the reflective portion of the poem. This reflective tone is also enhanced by the way Pastan fills the poem in with short phrases as it keeps gives emphasization to each word and keeps the pace consistent. Thus, the short phrases evoke a sense of isolation and calm.
The fleeting thoughts give us a sense that we are following her thought process as she comes to an insightful conclusion. The speaker reminisces back into the time that her family were alive and how she used to feel left out and upset because they are keeping a “grown-up secret.” But now she understands why they hide that from her; for the plain fact that she is not “quite ready yet…” This poem reveals the sentiment of the speaker as she embodies a reflective moment in her life where the death of her family is not consumed by sadness but the waiting for the day she will be ready to learn the family secret. Death is inevitable, though Pastan views is as something that is just a small piece of a much larger plan. In a non-morbid way, she is waiting with slight impatience and eagerness for the day to come because within her faith and logical being there must be a life after death and longs to be reunited with her loved ones.