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To what extent are the women in the following poems ‘trapped’? ‘Afternoons’, ‘Mirror’ and ‘My Grandmother’

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Introduction

Laura Preston, 11W To what extent are the women in the following poems 'trapped'? 'Afternoons', 'Mirror' and 'My Grandmother' Although all three poems tell very different stories, they share a very similar message about how women can be trapped in their feelings and other people's expectations of them. Mirror: Sylvia Plath wrote the poem 'Mirror' in the mid-twentieth century. It is a very clever poem, which describes the internal and external problems a woman such as Sylvia Plath may have faced. As Sylvia suffered from severe depression throughout her life, when she wrote 'Mirror' the mood was expressed as depressed and miserable. Plath was also lonely from the separation from her husband so the theme is depression and loneliness. In the first verse of the poem, it begins as a riddle, 'I am silver and exact.' More simply, it is explaining what it looks like. It, referring to Sylvia Plath because Plath has given the mirror human qualities (anthropomorphism). A mirror is truthful to look in, 'I am not cruel, only truthful-' this seems to be fair in the first verse, but as we read on, we learn that possibly it is cruel as it causes so much hurt and discomfort, whether it is 'truthful' or not. ...read more.

Middle

He describes the lives of trapped mothers who lead very depressing and unfulfilled lives. He carefully describes the role of a housewife who has many jobs and important standards to set. Women with children need to deal with their demanding children, and are 'trapped' until they have grown up and can be 'set free'. Trapped in motherhood. The mother in the poem 'Afternoons' seems to be falling out of love with her husband because 'their courting-places' are being ruined, and the woman believes that 'the lovers are all in school.' Their husbands were once the main focus and interest in their lives, but now it is the children who occupy their thoughts. Some have no husband at all to provide support at all: 'Behind them, at intervals, Stand husbands in skilled trades,'. These abandoned women, above all others, are entirely trapped in the drudgery of caring and providing for their children. The title of the poem- 'Afternoons' -suggests the point in their lives, not morning (the beginning) but also not the evening (the end). Whilst studying the poem, many ending and fading images are noticed: falling leaves, their beauty, ruined courting-places, end of summer, end of the day. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Only the guilt of what I once refused.' I also think she felt guilty because she 'felt no grief at all,' The structure of the poem is told like a story of the Grandmothers life, which is effective as it draws the reader in and they almost feel involved in what is happening. A miserable atmosphere is created throughout the poem because the rhyming scheme is not very strict. Metaphors are used by Jennings to create images in the readers mind. 'All her best things in one long, narrow room.' This should create an image of a coffin in the readers mind, as the shape of the room fits the description of a coffin. Also some people like to be surrounded by their special belongings inside their coffins so that their priceless objects are buried with them. Although the objects, which the Grandmother loves so much, seem old and 'faded' to the reader, to the Grandmother the antiques have great importance - 'needed' but never 'used'. The Grandmother seems to prefer them to human company or love, as this is the case, the Grandmother cannot leave the room of antiques so she is trapped. ...read more.

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