The poem "Frida Kahlo Comes to Dinner" by Christine Strickland is a compelling poem strongly portraying the female character of Frida Kahlo, famous artist and writer. Strickland's portrayal of Kahlo's personality is reinforced through her successful use of language, imagery, personification and other literary techniques. Strickland manages both to display the flamboyancy of Kahlo's presence while simultaneously provoking the reader's sympathy for her.
In the first few lines, Strickland has already delved right into her description of Kahlo
"Frida Kahlo has come to dinner
Late, as usual, a little drunk, as usual
Scattering fag ash like confetti"
Kahlo's arrival gives an ambiguous view of her personality. In one way, it can be seen that Kahlo is selfish and unconcerned about the feelings of others (including her host). The more sympathetic reader may however see Kahlo's poor punctuality and inconsiderate arrival as an example of her being carefree.
The simile of her "scattering fag ash like confetti" seems to support the former idea. Generally speaking, these opening lines have not given the reader a particularly positive impression of Kahlo.
After a somewhat negative portrayal, Strickland begins to build up a different side of Kahlo's personality. Strickland describes Kahlo as being
"Partnered by her perpetual pain"
This immediately changes the reader's earlier opinion. The use of the word 'perpetual' suggests that Kahlo has never been, and will never be, able to be free of this pain. Strickland makes further references to this pain, the most striking of these being her personification of the pain
"whose grim claws she wore
as lightly as the ribbons on her dress"
This is a particularly disturbing image of the pain as being some kind of wild, untameable beast. The simile above shows two different things: the first is that Kahlo's "wearing" of her...