Flipping through Scofield’s poems my group became immediately attracted to him and after reading up on his life we were even more intrigued. We mentioned in the presentation how “Between Sides” in particular resonated with us all. Scofield’s intention was to shed light on the hardships of the Métis people, yet his poem appeals to a universal struggle; the struggle of finding one's own identity. Many of us today do not belong to one sole cultural anymore but to many, and in a sense are identities are fragmented. (Perhaps not to the same extend as Scofield but still...)
A classmate pointed out that the last line of the poem “Careful not to shame either side” as having some irony and interpreting it as being slightly bitter. She continued saying that both cultures were not really welcoming and that Scofield was sick of it and is being a bit sarcastic, other students echoed similar sentiments.
Whereas my group did not see that line as being bitter at all, rather we thought Scofield recognized the hurt that came with being judged because of skin color and traditions, and as a result of his first hand experience is saying that he wants to be incredibly careful in what he says both in real life and in his poetry so to not inflict pain on others.
This caused my mind to trail off, “How could our group have missed this apparent possibility of irony?” My theory is that perhaps my group became so attached to the poem that we projected what we wanted to see. I wanted to see him blend his diverse cultural background and rise above the tension between his identities because I hope that I and others can achieve that kind of harmony between our mixed backgrounds as well.
This close reading was an important reminder that although it is great to connect to the material in study, it is also important to remove yourself from it, and analyze at distance, considering different viewpoints.