Yet Do I Marvel

The theme of the power of unwritten laws is evident in the poem “Yet do I Marvel” and the story of Oedipus the King. The poem brings out the paradox of a loving God who created life and the suffering that is faced by humans and animals. The poet then recognizes that God is all-knowing and nobody deserves to question why He allows such suffering and struggles to befall people. When the poet says “…Inscrutable his ways are…catechism by a mind too strewn”, he recognizes that there are rules that cannot be written yet dictate how humans should conduct themselves. The story of Oedipus brings out the same theme effectively when Creon decides that the body of Polynices should be left unburied because he was a traitor (Sophocles 67-98). Events that followed his actions in the play demonstrate that Creon was not justified when he thought that the good of the state should come before all other things, even being human. It became evident that burying Polynices was a duty of being human and not an obligation that comes because of being a citizen. The right to bury his body was a moral duty expected of Creon, but is not in written laws The story of Oedipus King and the poem ” Yet Do I Marvel” have depicted this common theme.

The poem “Yet Do I Marvel” compares in theme with the poem Supremes. In this case, there is a single theme of the might oppressing the weak. In “Yes I do Marvel” the people that do not have a voice and are blind are symbolized by the moles. These are the people that do not know their future and that are the reason for their blindness. The sad thing is that they have to die since there is no hope. In the same way in the “Supremes” we see a people that feel left out and with no power. The only thing that they can do is to watch as other people progress their only hope is that at some point the ones that have improved can look at their plight.


The theme of light and darkness has emerged in the story of Oedipus, the king as well as in the poem “Harlem.” Oedipus and other characters do not know his origins. He later discovers his origins, and this is when he realizes that things have come to light (Sophocles 120). In the poem “Harlem,” there is racial discrimination which limits the American dream for black children. The Americans can freely achieve their dreams, but the African American was treated as a second-class citizen during the time the poem was written. The frustrations of the blacks came as a result of their postponed dreams. According to the poem “Harlem,” the dream dries up like a juicy fruit that has been exposed to the scorching sun for a length of time. He says, “Does it dry like a raisin in the sun?” The racial discrimination creates a line between whites and blacks, leaving the blacks in the dark while giving the American the best lives which can be likened to light. The story of Oedipus the King and the poem Harlem share this theme as is evidenced by the illustrations above.

The poem compares with the “Supremes.” The two seems to speak to people that have been given fewer opportunities and have no choice but to watch as other develops. The supreme appears to talk about the African in African who did not experience any industrial revolution, and the only thing that they had was learning about it. It is a clear case of people and a continent that has lacked behind in development due to the issues of colonization. The same way the African Americans suffered from discrimination is the same way the African in African was denied the chance for self-actualization through colonization and new colonialism.

The Supremes

The story of Oedipus the King and the poem “The Supremes 1991” have the theme of the search for identity. Oedipus does not have an identity in the story of King Oedipus. He does not have an identity and ends up drawing his identity from his surroundings. When he learned that he was destined to be the one responsible for the death of his father, he led Corinth where he had been raised after being sent away from Thebes. In spite of his efforts to keep running away from what he was destined to be, he eventually ends up in Thebes as King in the place of his father(Sophocles 150).To bring out the theme, the poem “The Supremes” has talked about social norms which crush the identity of the students. It says, “We were born gray. We went to school, sat in rows…”. There is continued use of the word “we” which shows a lack of identity. Oedipus struggles to know who he truly is, and the curse further disorients him. He ends up killing his father and marrying his mother. This made him the father and brother of his siblings. In the poem “The Supremes,” the students in schools experience bullying by others which made them stay in groups and feel inadequate compared to the rest of the students.

However, of importance is how the poem seems to present an essential clue in the lives of the marginalized people that are forced to abandon their culture to take up the culture of their masters. Therefore the poems seem also to support the idea present by the “Harlem.” They both seem to decry the idea of a people that are marginalized and that it is a time for such to end.




Latin Night at the Pawnshop

The theme of ignoring the truth is brought out in the poem “Latin Night at the Pawnshop” which describes the lost culture of celebrating Christmas among the Latin and enjoying themselves during holidays. The same theme is seen in the story of Oedipus the King. When Jocasta was close to finding out about the truth behind the murder of Laius, Oedipus chooses to ignore the truth and pretend not to know anything about the circumstances that led to this death. Oedipus had committed himself to search the truth but this moment proves otherwise about his commitment. It could be the reason Jocasta also felt the urge to tell Oedipus about a prophecy concerning her son who would kill his father. There is tragic irony in this section of the story, but the one undeniable thing is that Oedipus and Jocasta willingly ignore the truth (Sophocles 170). In the poem “Latin Night in the Pawnshop,” The poet talks about the importance of salsa bands during celebrations, but now the instruments that would have been used to provide the music are locked in the shops. He says, there is golden trumpets and silver trombone (…). These are the colors majorly used for Christmas. It is sad that the Latins groups which had migrated from their homes could not enjoy these privileges anymore. They choose to ignore the celebrations because they are not in their homes. The theme is brought out well when he regards the images as ghost-like.


Religion is another theme that is evidenced in the story of Oedipus the King and also in the poem “Yet do I Marvel.” It is evident that Oedipus disbelieved in the gods and was extremely proud. It is this flaw of character that attracted the problems that he faced. It shows consequences that come when one lacks reverence for the gods. Oedipus is depicted as a person who had so much confidence in his intellect and was arrogant as a result of this. This arrogance and pride are the main reasons for his downfall. He is even seen trying to take matters to his hands when there was a plaque in their land. According to Sophocles, he cursed himself when he learned about Apollo’s prophecy concerning the murderer of Laius (170). In the poem “Yet do I Marvel,” there theme of religion from the beginning of the poem when the poet declares that the goodness of God should not be questioned. The poem talks about the suffering inflicted upon humans and animals and does not challenge the goodness of God. He even acknowledges that God gave him the ability to be a black poet in America (Fetrow 104). The ambiguous nature of God, as brought out in the poem instill a clear indication that religion and reverence for God prevail throughout the culture of the poet. The play and the poem bring out the importance of religion to the community. Lack of reverence for gods attracted punishment in the story of Oedipus the King while belief has allowed the poem to know God and revere him more in spite of the numerous problems that come the way of the poet.

The Supremes

The Supremes indicated the people in high positions, either in the government or in the institutions. These are the haves in society. The poem on “The Supremes” seeks to identify and explain how the superiors in the community carried themselves. This Oedipus, the king, also describes the various themes such as that of pride, fate, and blindness and how it affected the people. These individuals did what was asked of them and failed to realize that this was their fate after all. The poem brings out most of the theme of pride relevant to the story. It is evident from the poem that the Supremes did not heed any advice given but instead went ahead to do what they thought was the best, which in this case resulted in their downfall.

Relating to the story of King Oedipus, pride took the best of Oedipus and made him go ahead with his investigation about his biological parents. This led to him killing his father because he was blinded by his determination to find his real family. Despite the reassurance over and over again, he couldn’t forget his suspicions concerning his parents. The Supremes and their parents proved to be proud when they assumed all was well and failed to check whether things were heading in the right direction. Their behavior goes in hand with the saying that pride comes before a fall. The downfall was that there was going to be the use of force and they would not resist since they had given the revolutionists a go ahead.

There are similarities in this poem and that of “Harlem” where the theme of blindness presents itself. The author of the latter tries to find what happens to dreams and is blinded by the fact that he thinks that dreams explode. He poses these questions hoping to find an answer but all the effort goes to waste. The author of “The Supremes” presents the theme in that the people were promised that through the revolution they would live better lives. They couldn’t see the result that this move was made to end them.

Many a time people do not want to see beyond their sight and later regret about the choices they made. They give excuses on why they cannot act in a certain way. It is their pride and lack of insight that sends them down the hole they never thought they would be. However, paying attention to these details prevents one from suffering in the future.

The Flowers

The author of this poem seeks to present the relevant themes of the story. The poem identifies the idea of fate. According to the tale, Myop’s destiny was to find this man dead. As she went to collect her flowers deep in the forest, she didn’t think that such a terrible thing would happen to her. It is argued that no one can escape their fate and since one tries to evade it, it eventually occurs.

The story of Oedipus the king is quite similar to this of Myop. King Oedipus dismissed the prophet when he was informed that he would kill his father and marry his mother. He went ahead to escaping Corinth to avoid this prophecy that was meant to happen. As the story comes along, he killed his biological father and sired children with his mother without his prior knowledge. His mother found out that she had been caught in such a horrible act and couldn’t face the situation any longer and therefore, committed suicide. In the latter story of Myop, this was a beautiful day, and there were no expectations of such an act. She even found possessions of the man where she’d picked the pink rose. It is evident that whatsoever is destined to happen must happen.

There exist a similarity between this poem and that of “Harlem.” The latter depicts what happens to dreams that do not come to pass. The author wonders if they dry up like the way flowers do when withering or they are just forgotten. The two poems seek to understand and explain the individual’s fate and the result of their lives. It merely tries to say that there is no planning for events that are meant to happen in people’s lives.

People tend to ignore important aspects of their lives. They are ignorant of events that may affect their lives in either positive or negative ways. They should own up to their mistakes and be ready to face the consequences.







Works Cited

Fetrow, Fred M. “Cullen’s Yet do I Marvel.” The Explicator 56.2 (1998): 103-105.

Hughes, Langston. “Harlem (a dream deferred).” Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers(1951).

Latin Night at the Pawnshop by Martin Espada

Sophocles, E. A. Oedipus the king. Classic Productions, 1994.

The Supremes 1991 by Mark Jarman