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Mummy's Curse

Charles Simic

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Added by: Sean Wayman
I would start an analysis of this poem by noticing the way it highlights the conventions of literature. This foregrounding rather than concealing of the conventions of genre is a tecnhqiue often found in postmodernist writers. Some cliches it makes ironic use of inclide the "secluded Victorian mansion" and the sad family history we are given in the third stanza. Both of these conventions are subjected to Simic's ironic gaze. The 'mysterious' setting of the first stanza seems like something from a Gothic novel. Simic satirizes it by saying that he walks around with his "hair full of dead leaves". This image symbolises the deal literary conventions and cliches we carry knowledge around of in our heads.
The second convention (the tragic family back-story) is satirized by the use of comic exaggeration. The poet is shown as morbidly sensitive, "Since then a day doesn't go by without me/Sticking a loaded revolver in my mouth." Simic makes deft use of satire to deflate tired literary conventions.

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