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the worlds wife

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Introduction

To what extent are Mrs Sisyphus and Mrs Rip Van Winkle characters of the World's Wife? The World's Wife an array of relentless and unapologetically feminist poems consisting of a large number of personas, who are witheringly contemptuous of the men they have ended up with, generally inadequate, self-obsessed and immature. Each poem carrying an implicit message of feminine virtues governed by the somewhat scorn of women. Mrs Sisyphus and Mrs Rip Van Winkle playing host to many of the ironically degrading characters that have been given to their counter opposites. Mrs Sisyphus serves as a resounding echo to many of the female characters that find themselves within Duffy's feminist collection. 'That's him pushing the stone up the hill the jerk'. It is this blunt yet explicit statement made by Mrs Sisyphus that sets out the pace for the rest of the poem, conveying immediately the attitude she has towards her husband and the 'dork' like actions he undertakes. Furthermore, the fact that Sisyphus was condemned to roll a boulder up a hill for eternity, serves as a poignant reminder of him being a symbol for pointless activity. As a result, Mrs Sisyphus expresses this pointlessness and reminds us that 'what use is a perk, when you haven't got the time to open a cork'. ...read more.

Middle

Through her idiomatic tone one is able to draw out the characteristics of a woman who sees no sense in rolling a stone 'that feckin' no sooner up than it's rolling back down'. This movement of the stone going up yet gravely set to an incessant downward spiral is a reflection of Mrs Sisyphus' relationship with her husband. Similarly even though Mrs Winkle initially faces the prospect of having an elated life without her husband, sees her dreams shattered when her husband awakes 'sitting up in bed rattling viagra'. Duffy conveys, the position of Mrs Winkle within their relationship, she seems nothing more then object for sex and pleasure for her husband. Bound by the ever conventionalist view of women being nothing more then the property of men. Not only deeply patronising, but in all places and at all times, suggesting only men are of importance, and their wife's are mere appendages. After all she had taken up food and given up exercise ' it did me good' a reversal of what one would associate as being 'good' or in the eyes of her husband being seen as an attractive woman. The fact that her self worth is associated by her physical attributes highlights Duffy's anger at how male emblems seem to place women in a position where only objectification is possible. ...read more.

Conclusion

Furhtermore, the structure of the poem mimics the movement of the rock as it goes back and forth. In addition the rhyming scheme used within the poem ' jerk, kirk, berk' seems to convey the anger of Mrs Sisyphus, each word ending in a 'K' the harsh tone given at the end of each word is an elaborate reminder of how Mrs Sisyphus is made to feel .In contrast Mrs Rip Van Winkle seems a much more easy flowing poem, each stanza containing only three lines and the first line being the shortest, depicting various time periods and events. The purpose of this is to convey how short lived they actually are for Mrs Winkle, as the poem initially starts with three lines and then ends with three also highlights the entrapment of Mrs Winkle, she began and ended with absolutely the same not being able to permanently free herself. Thus to conclude, both poems seem characteristic of the 'Worlds Wife' not only defying male conventionalism, yet also making the reader aware of relationships that seem to be governed by men. Duffy highlights, not just in these poems but many others in her collection that in order for a woman, to be truly happy she must step out of the web that she has trapped herself into. For a woman also play a very important part in a society and patriarchal views will only ever begin to deteriorate if females begin to make a stand. ?? ?? ?? ?? Adeel Amin 12P ...read more.

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