Usman some kind of misconception. Throughout the entire poem



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24th, 2018



The poem “Persimmons” by
Li-Young Lee, the persimmon is used throughout the entire poem for their
literal, symbolic and also their metaphoric meaning. The poem starts with Lee
getting in trouble with teacher and as his punishment he got slapped in the
back of the head and was put in the corner. In this first stanza we can tell
that the author is looking back to the past, when he first got punished for not
hearing the difference between two words “persimmon” and precision”. This is
the first of many stanza’s that occur throughout the poem and that add layers
of meaning to the poem and each of these scenes involves some kind of
misconception. Throughout the entire poem there are four other people that we
encounter, the teacher and lee’s wife his mother and father. The use of the
word persimmon, is the Chinese metaphor for human life: “tasteless and bitter
when too young, soft and sweet once mature (Eva).”


In the Poem there are
several descriptive, stanza’s one of them refers to cutting and choosing and
the peeling of perfect persimmon, for example “eat the meat of the fruit, so
sweet, all of it, to the heart”, in this stanza we can see that persimmons are
being used for literal meaning as well as the metaphoric meaning, this refers
to lee making love to his wife Donna, another connection we can make from this
stanza is it could also refer to the recall of the love he felt from his
parents. This similar pattern, of the persimmon being used for metaphorical
meaning can be seen throughout poem. when Lee talks about his parents, the persimmons
are being symbolic of his love for his parents and his culture, this develops
the theme of love in the poem. In the following stanza we see that Mrs. Walker
brought a persimmon to class to cut it open, “so everyone could taste a Chinese
apple. Knowing it wasn’t ripe or
sweet, I didn’t eat but watched the other faces” this fruit is unknown to Mrs.
Walker as she is calling it a “Chinese apple” it shows her ignorance, it also
represents Lee’s Love for his culture and heritage and to him this is an insult
calling it a “Chinese apple”. To Mrs. Walker “Chinese apple” is nothing more
than a mere fruit but to Lee it represents his culture, and the hidden meaning
of persimmon only the few will understand. The students themselves cannot see
the beauty of the persimmon, besides the sour taste, to them it’s nothing more
than a mere fruit, to them the secret of the persimmons are hidden, so much of
the fruit is hidden, that the real meaning of the persimmon is difficult to
find, its as though a veil separated us, we can see outlines and shapes behind
it but not the details but to Lee it represents the love and the care he
received from his parents and that’s what makes it special.


 In the Poem there is a deep and meaningful
connection being made, “My mother said every persimmon has sun inside,
something golden, glowing, warm as my face, this stanza in the poem holds a lot
of meaning because in our everyday busy life, we often take for granted what is
there for us, the “persimmon”, here can used to relate to people, objects, and
even time that we often take for granted, and then once its gone then we
realize what we missed. It also means that instead of being judgmental and
superficial we should look beyond the outward esthetics and rather focus on the
inside, because everyone has something special in their hearts, which only
requires that you look inside, this helps to develop the theme of love, because
it only requires you to look inside and appreciate its inner beauty, even for
things as simple as  a persimmon, This is
also visually trying to tell the reader what the fruit is like in a descriptive
way, so each person can appreciate the persimmon for what it is. Later in the
poem the two forgotten persimmons, is metaphor for connection and the bonding
between father and son, Lee’s father lost his eye sight but out of Love he managed
to make 3 paintings, one of them was two persimmons, this shows that his father
truly cared, this might be a overused word but “loved” his son and wanted to
give him something as memory.


Throughout the poem the
speaker searches for something that is missing in his life. Perhaps it’s the
lost connection to his culture and heritage, which can be seen when he tries to
each Donna some Chinese, perhaps he felt stifled by western culture, this
highly civilized by strangely different culture, it may have begun to Paul
after some time, the fruit of persimmon is metaphor throughout this entire poem
“swelled, heavy as sadness, / and
sweet as love.” I think this line best summarizes the poem, yet the
persimmons are swelled with their rich taste, and their exotic nature. Sweet as
Love this refers to the love the speaker received from his parents, this might
sound a bit cliché but no love is greater than a mother loves no care is greater
than a father’s care.



Lee, Li-Young.
“Persimmons.” Rose: Poems. Brockport: BOA Editions, 1986.

From A to Z: 26 Things to Know about Persimmon.” Fine Dining Lovers,