Analysis Of Mother Who Gave Me Life

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English Essay (How do composers represent a sense of power and powerless?)
Harwood’s Mother Who Gave Me Life, Sexton’s Little Girl, My String bean, My Lovely Woman and the novel The Penelopiad by Margaret Attwood all illustrate the restrictions and the resilience associated with feminine power. A woman’s true ability to create life is ultimately the greatest form of resilience inherited. However societal expectations of femininity prevent a woman to excel past the barriers of her patriarchal counterpart. Furthermore the objectification and subjectification of a woman’s body blatantly portrays the female anatomy as nothing more than a dominate conquest of men. Hence the above texts have all admirably represented a sense of power and powerlessness
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The poem Mother Who Gave Me Life by Gwen Harwood and the novel The Penelopiad by Margret Atwood both demonstrate the oppression of women when their achievements are seen as a threat to the patriarchal views of society. Mother who gave me life implements the idea of feminine sacrifice in the biblical allusion, “your voice calling me in as darkness falls on my father’s house” expresses her dissatisfaction that despite a mother’s personal expense to raise a child, they are still constrained by the male dominate society which forbids them for any ownership and inheritance as emphasised in “my father’s house”. She additionally uses alliteration, “burning backward in time to those other bodies” to apprehend the power of her mother’s domestic activity. Similarly Atwood uses irony to portray the protagonist’s capability to complete a male’s job, “Odysseus returning, and me – with womanly modesty – revealing to him how well I had done at what was considered a man’s business” demonstrating that despite a woman’s ability it is her duty to step down at the arrival of a patriarchal head. She further uses irony to illustrate the objectification of a women’s intelligence, “But cleverness is a quality a man likes to have in his wife as long as she is some distance away from him,” illustrating the sacrifice a woman must make to accommodate the expectations of society. This notion of women accommodating to the pleasures of others is displayed in Harwood’s integration and sibilance, “at our last meeting… saw your face crumple…then somehow smooth to a smile”, resonating with a mother’s intuition to hide her suffering at the expense of the child. Both Harwood and Atwood display the expertise in feminine ability as seen only desirable in its inferiority , thus women are expected

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