Commentary: What It Takes and Small Triumphs

Johanna Shapiro, Ph.D.

The two poems in this issue of FSH encourage us to reflect on families, what they leave us, what they ~Old, what they model, and how they control us. In “What It Takes,” Ted McMahon embers a gift from his Navy family: proper manners, etiquette, “what it took to fit in.” The title of the poem suggests the importance for this family of conforming to such societal norms. “What[ever] it takes” implies, perhaps, that no price is too high, no effort too great, to achieve…. what?

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