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The Cleaving Li-Young Lee, 1957 He gossips like my grandmother, this man with my face, and I could stand amused all afternoon in the Hon Kee Grocery,...

After reading "The cleaving" by Li-Young Lee, comment on discussion with 2 or 3 sentences. The comment will be simple "good job" or "I agree." Write at least 3 or 4 couple sentences that show that you've read that discussions and have something to contribute to the conversation.


In the poem “The Cleaving” by Li-Young Lee, there are multiple references towards his ancestry and he makes it very known that his heritage is extremely important to him. To “cleave” means to split or sever, so one can assume even before reading this poem that the author will refer to how he has changed since moving to America, or “severed” from his original heritage and culture.

The first stanza references the speaker’s grandmother, and the second references his grandfather. Since grandparents are usually associated with being wise and rich with knowledge of their culture, this shows the reader that the tone of this essay could be nostalgic. The line “too homesick to study” implies that the speaker feels great ties to his heritage, and thinks very highly of his roots. The poem then goes on to discuss his mother, his wife, and his siblings. This trace down his family line seemed to hint at a loss of Asian wisdom and culture.

He talks about eating the way he was taught, which shows he will not let certain aspects of his culture leave him. His Asian descent continues to impact his life in America. He mentions death and mortality quite a few times, and to me, this seemed to create a parallel to his culture dying out since his move to America.

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