AS 90854 Reading Record Sheet – Reading Log #2
Suicide Note – Janice Mirikitani
The poem, “Suicide Note,” by Janice Mirikitani, is about a young Asian-American female college student who commits suicide by jumping out of her dormitory window. The poem is used to resemble the last words of someone at the brink of suicide (depression) and what induced them to get to this state of mind. It is her last words, thoughts and feelings that are recorded in the suicide note she leaves behind.
The themes addressed are society, parents, despair and perfection.
The poem talks about her underlying obsession of not being good enough for the world around her, detailing the idea that she is a perfectionist. This is showed in the recurring line, “not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough”.
This theme of perfection can be accurately related back to the rest of the world. Throughout the poem she talks about not being good enough for society, her parents and not living up to their expectations. This is a common issue we see addressed in families and a lot of the world. Parents using their own personal desires and regrets to try and help their child grow. But is opposed by a child’s own personal dreams. Her parents need for her to achieve greatness in academic and sporting subjects, causes the girl to set unreasonable standards for herself, a non-tangible perfection. The poem mentions how the girl failed to acquire the highest of grades in her exams seen in the line “I’ve worked very hard, not good enough, harder, perhaps to please you. Portraying that her parents cared more about academic greatness rather than their unconditional love for their daughter. In the next lines it talks about preferring to be a son and maybe she would accomplish the dreams of her father. That being male, would allow her to pass through life effortlessly. Stated in the lines:
I would swagger through life,
and bold and assured,
drawing praises to me
like currents in the bed of wind, virile
A common stereotype that protrudes the world. Instead of waiting for her problems to alleviate. She acts without hope and opts for the easier way out; a bird stuck in perpetuate storm. Contrastingly she believes men can move through life strong and without despair. The truth, unknown to the girl, is that men have as much self-doubt as women do. The poem depicts the idea of emulation in society: effort to match or surpass a person or achievement. Our consumerist culture continuously portrays the images of extremely well built women and men, worthy of “perfection”. It is this deceptive message that can cause adversity or insecurity in many growing teenagers or adults.
The text teaches us that many of the elders or adults believe more in the manufacture of sublimity and consumerism rather than the actual feelings of the up and coming generation. Which
I would definitely recommend reading this piece of text, it is a gives great insight to the many struggles inconspicuous to the human eye of an adolescent. Its historical and societal features protrude the poem and show to us how society can cause us to “give up” or “lose hope” in times of anguish. Her suicide was in her eyes the only way to get rid of the torment and grief her parents planted upon her. Her way to liberate the idealistic perfections she could not accomplish. The poem perfectly portrays these issues of emulation in our world and our want to fulfil others/society’s expectations.