In reading "Beale Street Love," which is all about violence, it's easy to forget that the whole thing is a metaphor for love. Once that first line is over, the word is nowhere to be found. Instead, we're told that love is a fist. Every line has something to add to the metaphor, and everything that the fist does is expanding our understanding of just what Beale Street love is. Whatever it may be, that love is closely tied to violence, that much is sure.
Questions About Love
Do you think that someone in this poem is literally being punched? Why or why not? How does that punch relate to love?
What kind of love is Beale Street love? How do you think the setting of Beale Street affects our understanding of love in the poem?
If you could create a metaphor for love on your street, or the main street in your town, what would it be?
Do you think the man with the fist loves Clorinda? Do you think she loves him?
Chew on This
The violence in this poem is completely figurative, and no one is literally being hit. It represents the passion we feel when we love.
This poem is not talking about love at all. Instead, it argues that the man with the fist is using love to justify abusing his love.