In Mirikitani’s poem “Suicide Note”, parental pressures to be “good enough”, “smart enough”, and “pretty enough” are causes of teen suicide. Whether these feelings of deficiency come from comments and expressions from the narrator’s parents, or from her perception of their opinion of her, they drastically change the way she looks at herself.
The narrator feels like her parents expressed that everything she did was not “good enough” according to their expectations, which led to her suicide. She even goes so far as to say, “If only I were a son, shoulders broad as the sunset threading through the pine,”(Mirikitani 10). She feels her gender causes her to be sub-par to her parents’ standards. Since she is a female, she lacks the important feeling of self worth. She repeatedly expresses her previous statement, “ I apologize for disappointing you” (Mirikitani 5). As hard as she works, the results of her efforts are not adequate to earn the approval of her family. Although she states “I’ve worked very hard, harder, perhaps to please you”, she knows that no matter the great effort she puts into a project, it will be insufficient (Mirikitani 7). Her mindset leads her to believe her life is not worth living.
Repeatedly, the narrator labels herself not “smart enough” for what her family requires of her. “Tasks do not come easily”, she says, implying that she struggles with assignments that she is expected to complete quickly and with ease (Mirikitani 24). She does not get sympathy from those around her because they do not understand her difficulty with certain duties and labors. She uses the tragic comparison, “Each failure a glacier. Each disapproval, a bootprint. Each disappointment, ice above my river” (Mirikitani 25). Every time she makes a mistake or does something that her parents look down upon, her self esteem and confidence are lowered and it leaves her with another scar. Over and over, she writes, “I apologize” to try to express her sorrow and...
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