Internal Structure #2: Heaven by Cathy Song can be found on p. 1011 of the Norton.
Heaven is a story of heritage and gender gaps told through the point of view of a Chinese mother. She begins by talking about her son's view of what heaven is. His belief that heaven will be China seems odd to the mother. She says that it is "an octave away," meaning that he has a long way to go to reach this heaven. However, for the son, he seems to simply want to fit in. He sounds like a Chinese-American, as he got his "blond hair" from his father but he wants to return to China.
The mother seems conflicted in both senses. She sees the "black dot" of the map of where she lives and cannot seem to understand why she still lives there. There is air so thin "you can starve on it" and it's "mean and grubby." She refers to her son as the dreamer, as if he does not understand the way life is. Yet, she cannot understand "why here?". She knows that life is short and she should do something with it, yet she does not seem to have any desire to move forward and get out of the small "black dot" town.
The next stanza seems to be about her father, the boy's grandfather. He came to the "Gold Mountain," or America, with the hopes of making money and being able to return home. However, he was led further and further away from this plan until it was too late. The speaker's opinion on her father is conflicting. While she seems to admire his ambition in coming to America, she also recognizes that he died "in his sleep, dispossessed." He achieved nothing in coming to America and never got to complete his plan and return home.
The final stanza combines each of the three subjects in the poem. The ideals of the different generations, while different, come to the same idea: heaven. While each family member may have a different idea of what heaven truly is, each can appreciate that you can see all teh way there through those vast mountains and "pancake plains..."; heaven is there somewhere.
Shape--> "My Body"
8 years ago