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Man and Wife by Robert Lowell.

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Qasim Ilyas June 21, 2004 Prof. Rowena Kennedy Epstein MAN AND WIFE In 1959, Robert Lowell wrote a marvelous set of poems in a book called "Life Studies". One of his well-known poem in this book is entitled "Man and Wife" which deals with a theme of personal tragedy typical of the Life Studies series. "The content of the poem reflects a troubled marriage which can be seen when the author compares living with his wife before and after they got married. In my view, the poet contrasted this poem skillfully and reflected that he was very well-read in classical poetry. The author begins the poem by stating " Tamed by Miltown , / we lie on Mother bed" (Line 1-2).This opening statement shows that he has been tranquilized with a drug (Miltown) and he is lying on his mother's bed along with his wife, remembering his own mother and father's situation when they married . ...read more.


In the 6-7 line of the poem " a fourth time faced the kingdom of the mad / its hackneyed speech , its homicidal eye". It becomes clear that the poet's wife must play a different role for the "fourth time" she has had to hold his hand and drag him home alive. In this section we can see that the author is in state of some physical deficiency , maybe impotency which is resulting in her attitude towards him and the use of insulting language because he couldn't satisfy her sexual needs. She's angry at him that she considers him as a child . While explaining his present marriage life the poet turns back into his past when he first met his wife in Greenwich Village, New York City in a bar . He explains how she was at that time sweet, innocent and young and how he was shy, quiet and a love at first sight kind of guy. ...read more.


( Line 20-23). This reflects the true identity of his wife when he says that she is old fashioned referring to the fact that she is a southern born lady whose traditions are of Old South. Here the poet desperately shows that his wife has no meaning to his feeling and she is repeatedly hurting him by using vulgar speech. In the conclusion , I think that the author is trying his best to have a good relationship with his wife as they used to have before they married. But it seems like the wife has no intention to be with him anymore and she is completely ignoring him and his efforts on numerous occasion by insulting him and not responding to his actions . The author thinks that he is in a half body with no soul and is in turmoil of mental distress by his wife behavior towards him. An example of the ocean wave breaking against the speaker's head makes the reader see that the relationship is in trouble and there is a possibility its end. ...read more.

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