Exploration of the Text
1. What is the mood of the speaker in the opening lines? What images suggest his feelings?
The mood suggested the speaking is feeling depressed. The evidence could be seen in the line below:-
‘The ground opens up and envelops me’
The line suggested that the Earth ‘welcomes’ him into the ground as if his time has come.
2. What is the significance of the daughter’s gesture of peeking into “her own clasped hands”?
The gesture of a clasped hand itself suggested that the daughter might be praying provided with her being on her knees.
‘Only she on her knees, peeking into’
‘Her own clasped hands’
While the gesture of her peeking into her clasped hands might say that she was ‘peeking’ for the presence of God. She might be puzzled by His existence.
3. What does the title means? How does it explain the closing line?
As the title suggested, it is a preface of a compilation of notes. Suicide notes to be précised. There are more or sequel to this poem, perhaps.
The closing line might say that whatever we did, it all comes to the God to guide our path of life.
Frankly, humans are bound to pray when there is only misery in life and forget the Power Above when in a joy.
4. Why does Baraka have three short lines, separated as stanzas? How do they convey the message of the poem?
The separated-one-line stanza might represent the answer or sequel to its previous line which might act as foreshadow. It also helps to set the mood for the audience. It gives a brief moment for the audience to ponder and it strikes you with the one-line stanza. Furthermore, the one-line stanza helps to conclude its previous lines as a whole.
5. Why does Baraka begin stanzas with “Lately”, “And now”, “And then”? What do these transition words accomplish?
It suggested that his life as a whole is pretty much has ended for him for there is no more joy. Every day is same old story. It also signifies how bored and depressed he is with his daily life in chronological order. Just a little while ago, he already feels down in dump, and the present day, does not go any better and the much latter, things are pretty much the same for him - depression.
6. How does the speaker feel about his daughter? What does she represent to him?
Her daughter actually stands in fine line between life and death of the speaker. Although there is no strong evidence to support that the speaker is actually will or considering committing suicide, but let’s just believed that he is, her daughter essentially symbolizes a glimpse of hope and a motivation for the speaker. She is a reminder for him that he has something to live and for.