Big vs. Little

by stefmiele

Rita Wong’s book Forage, published in 2007, is a collection of environmental friendly poems that primarily focuses on the modern day capitalist political ambiance. The instructional nature of Wong’s poems frequently feels like an effort to bombard the reader with syntactical information rather than it’s poetic concern, as well as reflecting the explicit volume of information that Northern Americans ingest daily. This makes the book interesting, as taking notice at the motives, which would make someone like Rita Wong, to choose a collection of poems instead of an informational essay, which sometimes while reading, feels like one. Wong also puts forth her opinion on large corporations such as Disney, McDonalds, Walmart and so on, across the world, particularly in North America. Parts throughout the collection of poems make me feel like she wants us to start a revolution against big corporations, support the little business owners and disregard larger businesses entirely, much like a small independently owned and run coffee shop vs. a major corporation like Starbucks.

This idea is explored in the poem damage, on page 45. Wong writes about the danger of corporations on our society, “everything from burgers and cartoon mice” (45, Wong). Wong believes big corporations like McDonalds and Walmart are not thinking about the environment, or their workers, and the primary backbone of their business, the farmers, and are responsible for the world getting hooked on their product, but not in a good way, such as McDonalds. McDonalds is a worldwide powerhouse for kids to adults, loved around the world, but why? Constantly we are confronted of the dangers of eating McDonald’s food and constantly reminded the importance of proper diet and exercise, yet still we continue to abuse and disregard that information and go buy a McDonalds burger. Also, Wong addresses the banking system and ultimately the politics of North America, ATM might mean, “automatically tracks movement” or “a totalitarian market” or to that we might instead “antagonize the machine” to “see what happens,” suggesting instead a revolutionary politic. (Wong,45). At the end of damage, Wong writes, “where’s my slingshot” (45, Wong). This refers to David and Goliath, the big corporations obviously Goliath, and Wong as David. Looking at it in that perspective is what Wong’s poems are trying to influence to whomever wants to believe in her thoughts.

All in all, I feel like Forage is too provoking to on Wong’s opinion about Capitalism and it almost makes me feel bad to admit that I use many of the products she mentions, and I think it would be very hard just to change our ways so drastically, especially when these big corporation’s products are so easily available and affordable to most of the population. With that said, I also agree with Wong’s argument, but unfortunately, in this day and age, with poverty going on around the world, we are just not ready for a jump like that.

WC: 480


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