Poem Analysis: “Incident” by Countee Cullen

The reader finds under ment in the poem. The feeling that the boy experienced after being called a nigger brought much harm to his understanding of the world than Cullen talks about in the poem. Cullen has made the whole thing lighter by saying that it was all he remembered, but he has not mentioned the pain and sorrow that the incident might have brought to the young boy’s mind. So, understatement is there, and the poem leaves for us to think what the boy’s mind might have gone through after this incident of racism.

The poetic form of the poem is nice and easy. There are three quatrains on the whole. The first line of each quatrain has seven syllables; the second line of each has six syllables; and, the third line of each has eight syllables. The reader comes to know that the poem has the rhyming scheme of ABCB. The second line of the quatrain rhymes with the fourth line, throughout the poem. The overall poetic form is very simple, and the use of words is very easy to understand even for a child.

To conclude, Cullen has brought forward a very sensitive issue, which prevails in the American society, with the use of the word “nigger”, which is considered to be very insulting, so much so that even a child of eight felt the abuse. He was not able to forget the mental trauma he went through. The poem has brought up a thought-provoking and an unpleasant subject indeed.


Works Cited
Cullen, Countee. “Incident.” PoemHunter.com. N.p., 2011. Web. 5 Dec 2012.