Analysis Of White Lies By Natasha Tretheway

739 Words3 Pages
Analysis of “White Lies” by Natasha Tretheway Some readers may find Natasha Tretheway’s poem “White Lies” a simple poem about a girl who pretends she is white and lies about being white to fit in with society. A bi-racial child growing up in the 1960’s and 1970’s was difficult, especially since segregation became illegal in the 1960’s. I believe, however, that the poem is a story of her childhood, innocence and a struggle for personal identity in America. Natasha Tretheway’s childhood was not an easy one. Natasha was a girl who was born in 1966 to a black mother and a white father. She took on most of her father’s physical traits, with lighter skin and softer hair. Tretheway’s family grew up in a “shanty-fied” town along railroad tracks, which was a town in the south made up of shacks. Everyone Natasha went to school with believed she was white. This was a problem for her because in the 60’s and 70’s the Klu Klux Klan was still very big and powerful in the south. This posed a problem for Natasha being friends with the white girls, because if their fathers where a part of the KKK and they found of that Natasha was half black, they would do whatever they wanted with her. That prevented her from keeping white friends. The same goes for African Americans; since Natasha was so fair-skinned she probably didn’t feel welcomed by her black friend’s families, because inter-racial marriages were still illegal at this time. The title, “White Lies,” you could describe as lies that don’t hurt anyone. In this poem you are led to believe that Natasha Tretheway lied about being white. She never actually lied, she just never told the complete truth. Even her mother believed she was lying about who she was and would wash her mouth out with soap to, “cleanse her lying tongue.” Natasha wore very nice dresses that her mother made for her, that led people to believe that
Open Document