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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 823 words

A Woman to Her Lover - poetry review

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A Woman to Her Lover Final Navdeep Alg Christina Walsh 'A Woman to Her Lover' is a poem that voices out the change in attitude of many women in the 19th century. It is about a woman stating conditions for marriage to her husband. The use of the conditional tense throughout the poem makes the poem appear like a marriage contract. This is striking because it contains the conditions of a marriage contract but from a woman. This would seem extremely odd at that period of as women were treated as subservient and marriage contracts would be made with men's interests at heart. The idea of men treating women as inferior is opposed in the first stanza. This stanza details the rejection of male dominance by a woman. Men are described as, 'conqueror,' to women who are, 'bond slaves.' The vocabulary in this stanza highlights the strong feelings of the women and of her hate for her role in society.


The phrase, 'wingless angel,' relates to the entrapment of woman by men. The word, 'wingless,' depicts the woman as unable to be free. This relates to the situation of many married women of this period as all they could do was to stay at home. The phrase, 'doll to dress,' refers to women as an amusing pass time for men who had complete control over them. We see another example of an emphatic statement in the last line, 'If that be what you ask fool I refuse you,' I find this line effective as it puts emphasis on the woman refusing the man and this would appear strange in patriarchal society. Especially as she calls him, 'fool.' This stanza is very significant to the time the poem was published, 1900, as this was when women made their views heard and relates to the publication of the book, 'Jane Eyre,' by Charlotte Bronte in 1847.


The last stanza details the ideal marriage for the woman. We can see a development of the poet's thoughts and ideas by the words used. The pronoun, 'we,' is used instead of, 'I, you,' before and this relates to the ideas posed in the last stanza, equality. The husband is called, 'comrade, friend and mate,' whereas before the word, 'fool,' was used. One strikingly odd thing about this poems layout is the exclusion of punctuation. It seems as though the woman has forgotten the rules of poetry and written freely. This is symbolic for the disregard of the rules of patriarchal society and it seems as though women want to break free from, 'conventions,' of society and this is a metaphor for the poem in general. I feel that Walsh succeeded in her aim of bringing women's views across and this led the way to further equality, i.e. women given right to vote. Navdeep Alg Words;814

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