Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye
Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye Anal

The article, Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye Analysis will unfold Naomi Shihab Nye’s unique ideas about being kind. Written by a prolific writer and poet, the poem offers profound insights into kindness and how to treat others well. It serves as an inspiration to be kind to one another and reminds us that we are all connected in the same way that flowers, animals, and humans are connected by the earth, water, sun, and air.

The poem begins with a keynote; the writer says that one must learn the art of losing to be kind. To her, to be kind, one needs to be selfless. One should lose all worldly desire and self-centered thoughts except the desire to spread kindness. She believes that selfish desires and a self-centered approach hinder kindness. Therefore, if one wants to benefit the world, he should let go of his egoistic approach toward life.

As the poem continues, the writer compares life to a bus and argues that a kind person continues his journey throughout his life. While doing so, he frees his mind from all worldly attractions. Moreover, she argues that his journey may lead him toward disturbing paths, but he remains steadfast and does not let anything hinder his way.

While talking about a dead Indian beside the road, the writer reflects on the phenomenon of unavoidable death. Every living creature has to die. Therefore, she urges us to live a meaningful life, a life spent doing kind deeds. She further suggests that if we want to know the importance of being kind, we need to decode the significance of sorrow. A person lost in worldly charm can never understand the taste of sadness. When life strikes hard, the real meaning of kindness shines out. Thus, this poem can serve as an excellent basis for discussion on the importance of kindness in our lives and how it can bring peace to the world around us.

Major Themes in Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye

Kindness, death, and man’s nature are important themes present in the poem. Naomi has beautifully divided this poem into three distinct sections to emphasize her ideas about the value of being kind. In the first section, the speaker tries to uncover the meaning of being kind. To her, a kind person possesses a selfless spirit. He spends his life performing holy deeds of kindness, leaving all the worldly charms behind.

In the following two sections, the writer presents us with vivid imagery and receptive ideas about the value of kindness in the modern world. The speaker further says that human beings are not inherently unkind; they only need to recognize their holy virtues. However, the quest for kindness does not cost them a fortune; they only need to avoid worldly affairs.

Analysis of Literary and Poetic Devices Used in Kindness

Every writer and poet use poetic as well as literary devices in their poetic pieces to express their thoughts in an impressive way. Naomi Shihab Nye has also inserted various poetic elements in this poem whose analysis is as follows.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in quick succession. Naomi has used this device throughout the poem, such as, the /e/ sound in “passengers eating maize” and /o/ sound in “sends you out into.”
  2. Anaphora: Anaphora refers to the repetition of the same word or words in the poem’s opening lines. Naomi has repeated “you must” in the final stanza of the poem to emphasize the point.
  3. Consonance: Consonance refers to the repetition of consonant sounds in quick successions, such as the sound of /t/ in “breath that kept” and /n/ sound in “deepest thing inside.”
  4. Free Verse: Free verse is a type of poetry that does not have any specific meter or rhyme. “kindness” is a free verse poem.
  5. Imagery: Imagery is using words that appeal to the readers’ senses. Naomi has skilfully inserted this device at many places in the poem such as; “You must speak”, “passengers eating maize” and “ties your shoes.”
  6. Metaphor: Naomi has used kindness as an extended metaphor just to show how little deeds of kindness can bring drastic changes in the world.
  7. Personification: Personification is to give humanistic qualities to lifeless objects. Naomi has personified kindness toward the end of the poem such as; “kindness that ties your shoes.”
  8. Stanza: Stanza is a poetic form of some lines. The poem has there varied length stanzas in it.

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