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Michael Ondaatje first published "The Cinnamon Peeler" in 1982 as part of his book Running in the Family. "The Cinnamon Peeler" is split into nine stanzas and each stanza is another level of sexuality and exoticness for his wife.

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Introduction

"The Cinnamon Peeler" Michael Ondaatje first published "The Cinnamon Peeler" in 1982 as part of his book Running in the Family. "The Cinnamon Peeler" is split into nine stanzas and each stanza is another level of sexuality and exoticness for his wife. In the poem, the speaker gives a very sensual description of his wife and during the courtship of their relationship, using the exotic qualities of cinnamon. The exotic qualities of cinnamon are especially used for smell, which he uses to call attention to his love and desire for his wife. Ondaatje's uses cinnamon, which is a plant found in his native country, Sri Lanka. The poem is erotic by nature and as the poem progressive the poem reaches another level of eroticism. The first stanza of "The Cinnamon Peeler" sets up a hypothetical situation right from the first line: "If I were a cinnamon peeler." Immediately the readers know that the speaker is not the cinnamon peeler, but what might happen if he was. ...read more.

Middle

Smooth skin is another way to show eroticism. In the third line, the speaker gives one of the most graphic descriptions in the entire poem: "neighbor to your hair." Although hair could normally mean the hair on the woman's head, however since the speaker is talking the woman's thigh it cannot be about the hair on her head. Thus the speaker is talking about the hair near the woman's upper thigh, which is identified as the woman's pubic hair. This reference is incredibly sexual, since he discusses the most intimate place of the woman's body, but the speaker only lingers here for a moment. The speaker moves on to the next body part, the woman's back. The fourth stanza the poem changes tone. Up until now the poem has been about a hypothetical meeting. Now it switches to the description of the couple's actual past. As he states in the first line of the poem, the speaker is not a cinnamon peeler. The speaker's loves his wife very much. ...read more.

Conclusion

She would rather be marked with the scent of her husband's desire. Yet, within the context of the poem, even a wound can be a pleasurable experience if it leaves a mark, as the cinnamon peeler leaves a mark on his wife. She suggests that the lack of strong desire between a couple is the equivalent of mechanical lovemaking without communication. The last stanza brings both hypothetical situations together. The speaker's wife offers her body to her husband. The speaker focuses on a part of the woman's body, her belly. The speaker's wife closes the poem by going along with the fantasy that her husband made in the beginning of being the cinnamon's wife. She makes herself as his wife and tells her husband: "Smell me." So when the speaker's wife asks him to smell her. The wife is asking him to desire her. This married couple is remembering their passion for each other, by looking back on past memories and using a role-playing game where the speaker becomes a cinnamon peeler, and his wife becomes the cinnamon peeler's wife. ...read more.

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