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woman's rose

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Introduction

A WOMAN'S ROSE 1. Explain the following expressions taken from the story: * my eye is dim; * quivering green leaves; * mildew marks. "My eye is dim" - when she gets old and cannot see clearly any more. "Quivering green leaves" - new green leaves that are shaking with life in spring. "Mildew marks" - mildew is a fungus which grows in damp conditions - because the flowers were packed into her box while still wet, they developed mildew which made marks on the paper in which they were packed. The mildew marks were still there even though the flowers had been thrown out. How did it come about that the narrator owned the rose in the box? The woman, when she was a girl, had become a rival of another girl in the village. The other girl resented her for usurping her place as the most popular woman in the village. When she decided to leave, however, there was a party held and the older girl gave her the rose as a sign of reconciliation. The narrator speaks of the time when her "faith in woman flickers". * Is the word "woman" used correctly here? Should it not be "women"? How do you know? Explain your answer carefully. ...read more.

Middle

She was more attractive simply because she was new in the village. She was also younger and therefore more full of life. How did she react to this attention? The author did not think she was as pretty as the other girl. She was more attractive simply because she was new in the village. She was also younger and therefore more full of life. She liked the men's attention because it made her feel important. At the same time, she hated it. Why did the writer appear to despise men? She despised them because they showed no backbone. They were all too busy competing with each other for the affections of a pretty girl. They were not attracted to the inner beauty of the girl but purely to shallow outward beauty. She felt that there was something demeaning in the way in which they behaved. What does the narrator mean when she says that "the mother heart had not swelled in me yet"? The author sees the grown woman as the mother. A mother has love for her children, looks after them, nurtures them. The heart of the grown woman is therefore one that is swollen in love for all people. ...read more.

Conclusion

If whiteness is a symbol of purity, is there any significance in the older girl's removing her white rose and handing it onto the younger girl? It is mentioned, for instance, that the older girl then married. Does the passing on of the rose represent the passing on of her purity? Where did the other girl eventually go? The older girl eventually married and went to America. The story concludes with the words: "When my faith in woman grows dim, and it seems that for want of love and magnanimity she can play no part in any future heaven; then the scent of that small withered thing comes back - spring cannot fail us." * Why does the narrator use "woman" and not "women"? * What does the narrator mean when she says that "spring cannot fail us"? The author is not interested in women as such, but rather in womanhood. She therefore does not speak of "women" but of "woman". "Woman" means the female as a species. The author means that there is an eternal cycle. Winter will always be followed by spring. It will always happen. After a time of sorrow, there will always be joy. Spring represents everything vibrant in life, it represents a time of new life, a fresh beginning. It will always happen, says the author. ...read more.

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