Q. Using the poems "The Mother," Sex Without Love" and Before the Birth of one of Her Children" illustrate how feminism theory has been used to portray the strength of women
Women's right to make a critical decision concerning themselves, women power and gender difference are the vital concerns in feminism theory. The feminism seeks the society to understand this in-depth. To achieve this, the poems portray both the strength and the weaknesses of the female gender. In this analysis therefore, the theory of feminism will be applied in studying the three poems and the feminist ideology in each outlined and expounded.
In all the poems, women have been portrayed as effective personal decisions makers on matters that concern their bodies, families, and social lives. In the poem "Sex without Love" Sharon shows that women have the control over production and therefore, they have the ability to choose when and who to be intimate with at their pleasure, without feeling forced . Therefore, women are portrayed to have equal power with men when it comes to sex. In line 1 of the poem, Sharon opens with a question asking, "How do they do it, the ones who make love." (Olds, 988.1).The use of article they imply both men and women. This shows that women can be given the mantle to make decisions on sex. In the poem, "The Mother" the poet tells about a woman who has aborted her baby. She made a choice regarding the life of the unborn baby, and though she feels guilty about it she understands that she has to live with the consequence of her decision this is portrayed in line 23 and line 24 " Though why should I Whine, Whine that the crime was other than mine." (Brooks, 942. 23, 24). The ability of the persona not being able to whine about her decision shows that women accept and own up to their mistakes. Anne Bradstreet in her poem "Before the Birth of One of Her Children" shows how women choose to portray there emotion. The voice of the poem is grieving for her death, and the moments they shall not get to enjoy spending time with her baby. The persona goes ahead in confessing that she is ignorant yet she has an understanding that love bids her (Bradstreet, 940.9). In this context, women have discovered and accepted their limitation.
The feminism theory also seeks to show that women have power. In the poems, women had been portrayed to lose their ability by being venerable to their desires or external forces. Anne Bradstreet in her poetry "Before the Birth of One of Her Children" portrays the persona as a figure that has lost her power to Death. In this case, the power of Death is greater than the power of a woman therefor women are forced to submit to the greater power without much of a struggle. She expresses that there are "no ties, no string, no friends so dear and sweet." (Bradstreet 940.3) Are strong enough to get her from the mighty grip of Death. This line provides a clear example of how a woman becomes hopeless when dealing with external forces. Consequently, in the poem "The Mother" the persona is overwhelmed by guilt and regret having killed her baby. She fantasizes of the moments she would have had with her baby in Stanza 2 line 4 (Brooks, 942.11). This line shows that women are not able to control their emotions well compared to men. Therefore, they are viewed as weak which may not always be true. Lastly, in the poem "Sex without Love," the women have lost their power to sex and their desire. In this poem, sex is portrayed to have higher power than that of women (Olds, 988). According to the verses, therefore, any other power that is more powerful than that of women it is the power of nature.
Feminism also seeks to show the gender difference in the society. In both poems The mother and Before the Birth of one of her Children women have been portrayed as the bares of life. They can conceive and their societal duty is to bring up the children. The aspect of conceiving brings in the gender difference between men and women.
Olds, Sharon. "Sex without Love." The Iowa Review 12.2 (1981)
Ginsberg, Allen. Collected poems, 1947-1980. HarperCollins Publishers, 1984.
Bradstreet, Anne, and Sharon Olds. Before the Birth of One of her Children. ProQuest LLC, 2004.
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