Secret Path Poetry Analysis The struggles One boy had to face

Poem: You know that they just can't resist / No man could make them feel nervous / And they could put zero into it / And their country doesn't exist / Son when you dance I'll be on your shoulder / And you'll feel it / Son when you dance I'll be on your shoulder / And you'll feel it / And when something stirs in your heart / A feeling so strong and intense / When something occurs in your heart / And there isn't a next sentence / Son when you dance I'll be on your shoulder / And you'll feel it / Even as the world convulses / Don't stop wishing what you wish / Even as the world convulses / Even as the world convulses / Don't stop wishing the things you wish / Don't stop wishing what you wish / And when something stirs in your heart / A feeling so strong and intense / When something occurs in your heart / And there isn't a next sentence

Who was Chanie Wenjack?

Chanie Wenjack was a 12 year old aboriginal boy who tried to run away from residential school. He died after a week due to harsh weather. He may of died but his story and the legacy that followed did not.

What is the Secret Path?

The secret path is a project started by Gord Downie, lead singer of the Tragically Hip, to raise awareness about Chanie Wenjacks’s story. It consists of an album, graphic novel and movie.

Poem Connection to Chanie- Son: The poem Son connects to Chanie Wenjack because it is from the perspective of Chanie’s father who was a big part of empowering and giving Chanie hope during his journey in the movie and real life. Chanie’s father passed away when Chanie was young but his spirit was very much with Chanie in the movie, watching him and guiding him. That is what the poem talks about. Its lyrics are “even as the world convulses don’t stop wishing” and “i’ll be at your shoulder and you’ll feel it”. This is saying that Chanie’s father is always there empowering him to keep going on journey and never give up on getting home even if the world is falling apart. The movie also showed Chanie often thinking about fond memories of him and his father together when he was cold or hungry or felt like giving up. It distracted him enough to keep going on his journey. Chanie’s father was a big reason that Chanie made it as far as he did. Even at the end, Chanie passed away thinking about his father and when he died his father was there waiting to go into the afterworld together. Just as the poem said, Chanie’s father was there for him guiding and supporting him as the world “convulsed” and Chanie died.

Poem Analyzation #1- Even as the world convulses; The biggest element of style that I found was personification. The example was even as the world convulses. I know this is personification because it gives life or personality to an object that can’t think or have feelings. This is what Gord, the author, did when he wrote even as the world convulses. He gave life to the world. Even though the earth spins and the world is full of people who move and breathe and think, the earth can’t literally convulse. The writer just wrote that to give the poem more depth and descriptive language. I think that this example can also be taken a bit as symbolism because it is used to represent an idea. The rhetorical device even as the world convulses and the paragraph surrounding it was very important because it represents hope and survival for Chanie. It is saying that even if the world is falling apart, Chanie will feel is dead father by his side supporting him and loving him no matter what happens. Even as the world is falling apart, Chanie should never stop fighting or give up on his journey.

Poem Analyzation #2-I'll be on your shoulder and you'll feel it; Another element of style is symbolism. The symbolism was son when you dance i’ll be on your shoulder and you’ll feel it. I know this is symbolism because it is used to represent something that isn’t literal. Chanie's father passed away a long time ago so he can’t actually be at Chanie’s shoulder because he is dead and Chanie is far away from home and close to Residential School. Chanie’s father is just with him spirit. It is used to represent that he supports him and is waiting for him if he doesn’t make it. This is shown in the movie. When Chanie dies, he joins his father in the afterworld. They walk away together. Chanie’s father was a big part of the film and story. As it says it the poem, Chanie thought of his father often and his father was with him in spirit.

How Chanie Feels:

The poem Son is about Chanie Wenjack’s dead father who is still watching Chanie and guiding him and encouraging him on his journey to get home after running away from residential school. Many times throughout the movie when Chanie is starving, cold, thirsty or wet he feels like giving up and just laying down and ending all the pain. The poem is about how Chanie’s father empowers him to keep going no matter what and to never give up. A lot of the time Chanie feels lost, helpless, scared and alone because he is just a kid and is trying to walk thousands of mile to get home. He has no food or water and used his matches. He is all alone in the wilderness scared that he might not make it. The only thing that brings him joy or distraction is thinking about his father and fun memories together. His father probably feels proud but helpless watching his child venture alone in the cold outdoors. That is why in the poem, he encourages Chanie to keep going even if the world seems cruel and wants him to feel his love and support even though he is gone.

Connection to the world:

Although I have never had to deal with such harsh conditions and being so scared, many other people and even kids have had to feel like that. There were thousands of other kids who had to go to residential schools who were told their beliefs were wrong and be beaten. They felt alone and like no one cared about them. Everyone had to be the same and no one could be unique. There are lots of people in different situations who feel scared or helpless too. There are 30,000 homeless people in just Canada alone. Everyday they struggle to find enough food to survive and live in fear that each day will be their last-just like Chanie. They have very similar struggles to Chanie. They don’t have proper food, water, shelter etc. They both live in fear and feel alone. Chanie because he was actually alone and homeless people because most people just pass by without giving them a second glance. There are also a lot of people who feel helpless because they don’t know how they can make a difference to help homeless people. There is a lot we can do though. We can donate blankets and food and clothes to homeless shelters and even just acknowledging them on the street can make a difference. Chanie’s family probably felt like this when he was away at residential school. They knew he was being taught to forget about his religion and was being beaten but didn’t know what they could do. Chanie’s father probably felt the same watching him suffer.The difference is that they really were helpless whereas we can make a difference to help homeless people everywhere.

In conclusion, Son is an empowering poem about the connection between a Son and his dead father. It has a lot of poetic devices used to enhance the story and make their relationship more real. It can be easily connected to the world and had very unique lyrics. I think it was a very important piece of writing to read to enhance my understanding of Chanie Wenjack and his incredible story.

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