A Palsied Girl Goes to the Beach

Hunt, Nan

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Squier, Harriet
  • Date of entry: Oct-27-1994


In this poem, a young woman with cerebral palsy must withstand the rude stares of children and the withdrawal of adults as they watch her walk to the beach. The narrator has never had a normal appearing body. She likens herself to objects in nature: mantises, crabs, coquinas. While these comparisons are not exactly flattering, they allow her to feel that she belongs in the world of nature. Only in the natural world are her jerky movements considered normal. Sitting on the beach she feels "inconsequential." Yet, the way her body is able to "stay the waves" and "more than stay-Resist," suggests that she is not inconsequential.


This is a complex little poem, which challenges one to think about how women are pressured to possess the ideal female body, and about how difficult it is for a woman to have a body that is far from perfect.

Primary Source

My Self in Another Skin



Place Published

Ossining, N.Y.