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Symbol Analysis

There's a reason why we called this poem a mantra or even a manifesto – it outlines an entire philosophy of life. Like any good mantra, it repeats key phrases and formulations several times, which helps create a sense of stability and of increasing power. Every time the speaker begins a phrase with the words "these hips are," we begin to believe her just a little bit more!

  • Lines 1, 5, 11, 12: The repetition of a key phrase in this poem etches it into our memory – it'll be hard to forget exactly what "these hips are"!
  • Lines 9, 10: Once again, Clifton creates almost identical syntactic structures. This repetition reinforces our sense of the woman's independence.

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