The Number 7

In my English 203 class we finished reading the book of poems from re: f (gesture) by Percival Everett, and all of the short poems within the book. The last poem was titled Logic and that poem seemed a bit all over the place; it seemed a bit disorganized in away. It started off talking about logic, to letters, to rats and then ends off with this a poem about the number 7. 

When we were reading this in class, I noticed there were little numbers in the upper left-hand corner, which indicated how many poems there were. The last poem was about number 7 and the little number told the reader it was the 6th poem. For some reason that bothered me a bit it just seemed like something was missing. The last page of the whole book was completely blank, even though that is common in some books it just seemed to me that it was put there for a reason. There needed to be something on this page to make it complete, to make it the 7th poem. 

The poem talking about the number 7 puts the number in the spotlight. For example, “Seven men lost, but not seven… All men will die but not seven” (70). There was just something about that number that was so intriguing to me. I had to find out this meaning, and really why Percival Everett ended his book of poems with this specific poem. 

I was determined to find out exactly what I wanted to know so I started researching the number 7. From the research I found a few interesting things that brought my thoughts to something more than the number 7 and this book of poems; but to another novel of Percival Everett’s we have read in this class, I Am Not Sidney Poitier. On one of the websites I was reading from, it said that the number 7 is an angel number and “…angel number 7 is an indication that you are introspective and thoughtful, and in touch with your deeper purpose in life”. Relating that back to Not Sidney Poitier, that just reminded me of when he was posing as Sidney Poitier and was telling a speech; he had to stand on the stage when he was given an award and had to give a speech that he didn’t prepare to people who thought he was someone else. Within a few words, he has made his speech tell the story of what has happened to him throughout the novel and how that has brought him to that current moment. As a reader, it seems that his speech is so well spoken that it doesn’t seem like he came up with it on the spot but instead he was speaking his purpose from the heart. The last sentence of the speech to me was the deepest part of his speech and just illustrated his purpose for the speech. It read, “…I AM NOT MYSELF TODAY” (234). This tells the reader that Not Sidney realizes his purpose in life is much more than what he is going through. By telling the audience this in his speech is a signal that he understands his purpose and understands the truth which at that moment was how he wasn’t himself today. 

A site that was focused more on the religious standpoint of the number, had a view on the number. According to the Bible Study website, “Seven is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual)”. The one word that stood out to me the most in the quote was “completeness”, going back to my quote said by Not Sidney, he realized that he didn’t have that “completeness” in his life which brought him to the fact that he wasn’t himself. Even though Not Sidney wasn’t himself at that exact moment when he was giving the speech, he knew something was missing and that was all due to him not being his true self. 

All of the thinking about Not Sidney still never answered my question about exactly why Percival Everett left off with the poem he did. Well not until I read something about the number 7 on a website about numerology. According to this website, “The number 7 is the seeker, the thinker…”. That quote just made me think about everything I was and am doing. Having the number 7 as the “thinker” is like what I am doing when trying to figure out exactly why Percival Everett left on how he did.

All of the novels we have read in class so far has gotten me to think about something whether it be relating intertextuality between the novels, or real-life issues or anything. The whole purpose of it all was to think that the number 7 is meant for like this website has said. So, in ending with the poem about the number 7 Everett isn’t just ending the book of poems but instead is leaving the reader’s mind to wander. In doing this he allows the reader to think that they probably didn’t start doing when initially reading the poems. 

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