Study Guide

Beale Street Love Power

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Where there is love and where there is violence, there's usually a power struggle, too. The fist in "Beale Street Love," and the love that it represents are powerful. There's no doubt about that. But is Clorinda powerful, too? She, after all, has the last word. There is physical power at work here, but emotional power, too. The question is, who has the upper hand?

Questions About Power

  1. Who do you think has the power in the first five lines of the poem? Why? What about at the end of the poem? Has the power shifted at all?
  2. What do love and power have to do with each other in this poem, if anything?
  3. Does the power of a fist always have to be violent power? Can a fist represent something else, too?
  4. Do you think Clorinda's speech at the end of the poem shows power in any way? Or is she completely powerless in the struggle against her abuser?

Chew on This

In this poem, violence is a way to establish power in a relationship.

Though she may be abused, at the end of this poem, the woman seizes the power.

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