Exploring “My Body”

“My Body” by A. Wunderkammer

An exploration by Allen James

http://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/jackson__my_body_a_wunderkammer.html

“My Body” is a series of twenty-three links that outline different intriguing features on a woman’s body.  The narrator takes the reader through a journey of explorations from the neck down to the toes.  Clicking each body part retrieves a recollection of thoughts and short passages from the perspective of a woman describing her “first time experiences” in grade school. This approach is very intriguing as it recalls the reader’s memories of exploring and experimenting with their body throughout their youth.  Regardless of the reader’s gender, the details of how this woman feels about each part of her body makes one actually recall the exact feelings of the body part they once experienced, from biting nails to exploring genitals.

Another interesting feature of “My Body” is the fact that the author explains her experience with drawing the body parts, which are very precise and easily recognizable.  She describes the effort it took to draw them as well as her physical experience with exploring her own body parts.

“My Body” is most successful when imagery and tone to convey the message of the exploration of the female body.  For example, the narrator describes her vagina as a “convoluted surface of folds overlapping folds.”  The piece also uses a strong and amusing tone to convey the part of her that has been added on: her tattoos.  “I got tired of answering questions (‘and what?’) about my tattoos, so I had the remaining work done in ink the exact color of my skin.” Another successful example of her imagery is in regards to her fingernails: “My nails were chewed ragged and rimmed with dirt. Sometimes I colored them black with pencil when I was bored in class.” This imagery allows the reader to be able to see, taste and smell those childhood fingernails.

“My Body” has many beautiful sentences; however, one that is absolutely beautiful is found on the “Skin” link: “With infinitesimal movements, invisible to everyone else, I could make my hairs straighten and bow, straighten and bow.”

I learned quite a bit from the story that related to my own life experiences of exploring my body.  However, what I learned most is how one can use images, thoughts and feelings about the body from a grade school standpoint in such a way that it brings still-fresh images back to the forefront of my mind.  I also learned that it is okay to break the boundaries and share my stories about the body parts that I possess.

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