In the poem "A Strong Male Rain," Hershman John speaks about his childhood fear of lightning and how his roommate feared lightning as well. John tells the story of how he and his roommate came to fear the thunder that came with the rain. Throughout the poem, John uses a variety of literary devices in order to convey his message thoroughly. The idea for the poem came from a conversation he had with his roommate, Darcy. They talked about their childhood fear of lightning and how it came to be. For John, it was due to his Grandmother's explanation that if he didn't keep quiet and stand still, lightning would strike him. Similarly, Darcy's brother told her that if she stood too close to the window the Kugelblitz would get her. Additionally, this poem is said to be John's only political poem, speaking about the horrible past of Jews and Native Americans. .
In the first and second stanza, Hershman John uses vivid imagery and metaphors in order to paint the image of a huge thunderstorm rolling; he uses this image to help the reader further understand what a "Male Rain" is. Throughout the poem, John uses pity to create pathos. John speaks of two kids which were both made to think that if they disobeyed they would get reprimanded.
The fact that John decided to point out that his roommate was Jewish might have something to do with the Schutzstaffel. The Schutzstaffel was an organization heavily associated with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. Furthermore, the insignia for the organization is two letters "S" but stylized to look like two lightning bolts. For this reason, John talks about the Holocaust, and accentuates that Darcy, a Jewish girl, was scared of thunder, the Schutzstaffel. "Little Jewish tears added to the monsoon's rain," John uses this sentence to set forth the idea that more often than not the hardships of the minorities are diminished as to imply that they are not an important subject.