The author described a part of her body. At first it seems that this is the main purpose of the whole poem, however, a quick review of the said poem will instantly reveal that she is referring to something else. Her hips is a symbol of her strength and attributes.
She used her hips to tell the story of her life. She used her hips to point out that women are prone to negative thinking. Her hips is a symbol of how women see themselves in society. In this poem Clifton is saying that women should change the way they think.
In the first line the author said that she has big hips. Immediately this is an interesting and powerful disclosure. This is because women with big hips are not proud to say that they have big hips.
Most big and heavy women find themselve unattractive. This is the reason why losing weight is an idea popular all over the world. The poet was able to capture the attention of many people especially if the one reading her poem is a woman struggling with her weight.
Clifton is trying awaken the consciousness of women by telling them that there is nothing wrong with being plump and heavy. She said that her hips is a source of pride and joy. It can also be argued that Clifton is not just talking about plus size women. She is used her hips to symbolize womanhood, freedom, and the need for women to be empowered.
This can be seen in the second line when she said that her big hips require space. Her hips does not require space to grow because she was not talking about the physical growth of her body but her need for freedom. Clifton desires for social mobility and nobody can force her to stay the same.
In the third line the poet said that her hips will never fit into petty places. It does not make sense why she needed to squeeze her hips into petty places.
This means that petty places symbolizes an aspect of society that are so narrow and constricted that she felt oppression. She confronted discrimination by saying that her hips cannot fit into those constricted places. She needed space to grow, explore, and expand.
She confirms that she longs for freedom because she interjects the line that says her hips are free. She added that her hips were never enslaved and because of that she will not shrink back from fulfilling her dreams.
This means that she will never be affected by the past. Her forefathers may have been slaves but she will not succumb to a slave mentality. She is saying that she will never agree to be under the yoke of slavery.
Mobility is important to her. Mobility is the proof of her freedom. If someone restricts her movement then it means that her right as a free citizen has been violated and therefore she will not allow that to happen.
She is not only free as a bird but she also possess the power to fulfill her dreams. There is nothing impossible for her as long as she believes that it can be done. There is nothing that can stop her and she has the ability to achieve the goals that she has set out to accomplish.
Finally, the author said that she possesses magic hips because she can put a spell on a man. Men may look down on her and consider her as a second-class citizen but she reveals that this is not the case because she can cast a spell on a man and he will be under her control.
This implies that men are not as powerful as they think they are. This means that she possess a subtle influence over men. She has the power to manipulate men as if she can spin him like a top. This means that women with magic hips like her can stand up to a man and express what they feel inside.
The author wanted to express her womanhood and her belief that she is totally free. She is not enslaved by the past and she is not limited by what others are saying about her. Her hips is a symbol of her strength and attributes. She used her hips to tell the story of her life.
She used her hips to point out that women are prone to negative thinking. She is not ashamed to say what she wants to accomplish in life. Clifton wrote this poem to inspire women. She wanted them to change their negative way of thinking. In the end she warned men not to interfere because if she is denied this right to be free she will use her power to spin them like a top.