At first glance, the poem seems to begin by discussing the severity of Hurricane Katrina as “weather is nothing until it reaches skin,” from the point of view of an individual and the effects of the horrible storm on that individual. However, after deep reading, as the author implies, this “rudderless woman” is Hurricane Katrina. Katrina begins by defining weather and its severity. “Weather is nothing until it reaches skin, freezes dust, spits its little swords. Kept to oceans, feeding only on salted water. However, this storm was anything but spitting “little swords,” or “Kept to oceans, feeding only on salted water.” Its impact was anything but small, and tragically fed on people and their homes. Then, this severe hurricane is personified as a human being. Hurricane Katrina is described as a “rudderless woman in full tantrum.” Like a child, this hurricane lacked a clear sense of its aims, and had a tantrum, throwing its “body against worlds…” Katrina continues by claiming that it “never saw harm in lending that ache.” This paradox represents the naivety of Katrina’s “tantrum,” as an ache can be harmful. In addition, “lending” represents giving over something temporarily. Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina’s impacts on people and societies it hit is not temporary. Ending this poem, Katrina describes her unintentional harm, stating how all she “ever wanted to be was a wet, gorgeous mistake, a reason to crave shelter.” Rather than just being a “wet, gorgeous mistake,” Katrina brought chaos and destruction in people’s lives. It really was “a reason to crave shelter,” as many lost the luxury of shelter, or rather, the necessity. This poem seems to give a voice to Hurricane Katrina, by claiming that the level of severity was unintentional. Just like Katrina was personified as an individual, each individual impacted by this horrific storm has to be recognized, rather than merely being one of many who suffered.

  1. At first glance, who did you think the point of view was? An individual, or Hurricane Katrina?
  2. What is the purpose of the personification?