An Explication of "Prospective Immigrants Please Note" by Adrienne Rich.

Essay by badballUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2005

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"Prospective Immigrants Please Note"

Adrienne Rich

Either you will

go through this door

or you will not go through.

If you go through

there is always the risk

of remembering your name.

Things look at you doubly

and you must look back

and let them happen.

If you do not go through

it is possible

to live worthily

to maintain your attitudes

to hold your position

to die bravely

but much will blind you,

much will evade you,

at what cost who knows?

The door itself

makes no promises.

It is only a door.

A poem by Adrienne Rich, "Prospective Immigrants Please Note", helps one consider the dual perspective, the mother culture and the American ideals. Rich's essential goal is to remember your families and origins.

First of all, the title "Prospective Immigrants Please Note" implied an immigrant's plea to leave their country and go to another country. Upon reading the poem, though, I now see the title as Rich's plea to immigrants not to forget who, what and where they came from.

Rich's poem claims either leaves the land or simply stay. "Either you will / go through this door / or you will not go through." The reason you want to go through the door is to better your conditions for the family and yourself. Nevertheless one has to acknowledge that at a point in her [Rich] life she faced her partly Jewish roots, so this poem could deal with Jews or any people considered the 'other' immigrating to another country or just having the guts to open the door and not knowing what is behind. Also the poem focus on the question of identity: is it possible to live in a country and stick to your own beliefs which may not be the beliefs of the...