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Litany: Infancy of a childs rebellion
The first 200 words of this essay...
LITANY; INFANCY OF A CHILD'S REBELLION.
A litany is a set form of prayer in church, in which the congregation responds with pre-set phrases. The religious connotations are obviously ironic here: the words emphasized in the first verse -candlewick bedspread, three piece suite...etc - are all naming the materialistic products introduced and desired in the society: the latest in furnishings, the newly available consumer durables are the 'religion' of these 'stiff-haired wives'. These are the words which echo and repeat through their conversations; the catalogue is their 'hymn book'. The irony here seems bitter and derogatory - as will the poem as a whole in relation to these housewives' view of the world.
The poem begins with a kind of surrounding music - the soundtrack by which the speaker lives her life. This seems more directly autobiographical as she talks of a past not of her own time and generation; here, the soundtrack of the speaker is imposed - it represents the concerns of the mothers. Instead - the speaker, although more obviously repressed, rebels - refuses to accept the surrounding terms.
Stiff-haired because they've got 'permed' hair; 'red smiles' because of their lipstick - and
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