What would you do if you were given what you thought was the perfect life and it suddenly seemed to turn upside-down? Would you jump to your death or climb back up? “The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Window” by Joy Harjo is a poem about a women who is lost in this big world we live in and trying to find herself while hanging from a thirteenth floor window. While this woman is hanging there she starts to have flashbacks about her life starting from her childhood up until now.
The author goes into detail about why this woman is thinking about killing herself because of all the pressures of trying to be some she is not is catching up to her. This poem represents everyday people and how they first have to overcome themselves and their lives before they can truly move on. This poem is about a woman not trying to commit suicide but women who represent bigger picture.The woman represents anyone and everyone who has ever had problems piled up on them, the author uses ethos, pathos and logos to persuade how our social roles constrains who we are as people and because of this the women is hanging by a short thread trying to find herself and put all the piece to the puzzle of her life back together again. This woman hanging from the thirteenth floor is in Chicago, living in an Indian part of the city. “She sees Lake Michigan lapping at the shores of herself.It is a dizzy hole of water and the rich live in tall glass houses at the edge of it” (Harjo 311).
The quote describes how the woman is so frustrated with her like that she takes something so beautiful like Lake Michigan and she turns it into everything she despises. This is a woman not just hanging from the thirteenth floor window, but also from a thread. She is a woman with many responsibilities, she is a mother to three kids, was a wife to the two husbands she has had and a daughter to her parents.This poem is about a woman who is always being stretched between two different people, she fills the responsibility that her family needs her to fill. As this woman is hanging from this thirteenth floor window she is thinking about her life and how her life is no longer just her life “She thinks of Carlos, of Margaret, of Jimmy. She thinks of her father and of her mother. She thinks of all the women she has been, of all the men.
She thinks of the color of her skin, and of the Chicago streets, and of waterfalls and pines. (Harjo 311). This quote describes this woman with many different faces, with various personalities trying to find her-self. This poem is not telling a story of a woman hanging to her death, but a story about a women hanging by a thread thinking about her life, her past, her present and her future. Trying to figure out if she will be a failure to everyone and fall to her demise or will she be able to take all the pressures of the world and make herself stronger and clime back up that wall and be a success.In the poem “The Woman Hanging From the Thirteenth Floor Window” Joy Harjo is using rhetoric to try and pull the reader into the poem and get us to read in between the lines. Harjo does a great job of using all three ethos, pathos and logos to create a mood of hopelessness in the reader to attract the reader to the story thought the reader’s life experiences.
The author Harjo uses Emotion based appeals to show the readers that they can connect to the characters’.She does this by showing the women and how her childhood wasn’t that good and how her life is falling apart as we read, she has no husband yet she has bin married twice and the only thing keeping her alive is her kids, “She sees other women hanging from many-floored windows counting their lives in the palms of their hands and in the palms of their children’s hands. ” (Harjo 311). In this quote the woman represents any and every woman that has ever felt like she cant go on because she feels like the weight of the world is on her shoulder.As the story progresses we start to see how the woman feels and we can start to put ourselves in her shoes. The author uses ethical based appeals to help the reader relate to superstations and being stressed. It is significant that the woman is hanging from that floor of this building in Chicago because many buildings do not designate a thirteenth floor due to the fact that the number thirteen is always associated with bad luck.
She tries to convince us as readers that the women will “fall to her death” by adding superstitions that many people believe in.The author uses the woman to get the readers respect so she can convince the reader to respect her so that she would be someone worth listening to. The author also uses logos in her poem. Harjo uses logical based appeals by persuading the readers by the use of reasoning. The way she uses logos in the poem is by implying that if the women can overcome all the diversity in her community, and let her past slip away and only live in the present and take the good from her life than the woman will live. If the woman can do that than she will fall off the wall and never be abele to clime back up.The author does a grate job of getting to the readers emotions in this poem because everyone will always have problems in their lives and will always have to deal with the pressure of life.
The end of this poem is a paradox and leaves you with you own conclusion depending on how you see people. “She think she remembers listening to her own life break loose, as she falls from the 13th floor window on the east side of Chicago, or as she climbs back up to claim herself again. ” (Harjo P. 312). This quote gives the hope that the woman chose to reset her life and to survive.It leaves the reader thinking about how they should change their life or how there will always be stresses in life but to never let that make you loose yourself This poem shows use how our social roles constrain who we are as people. The poem teaches use how there is always something or someone to live for and how a story may not always have one specific ending but it is how you interpret the ending that makes the story what you want it to be.
You learn that your actions don’t just affect you but they affect the world.In this case the woman hanging from the thirteenth floor chose her kids over herself because they were what she lived for. The hole story really takes place in the mind of ever person who has ever bin stressed and said to themselves is my life really worth it to save or not. So at the end in this poem “The woman hanging from the thirteenth floor window” by Joy Harjo the woman chose to forget everything and clime back up the wall. Life is all about choices and how those choices can shape a persons life.Works Cited Harjo, Joy. “The Woman Hanging From the 13th Floor Window”.
Pearson Custom, NJ: Needham Heights, 2003. 310-312.