Analysis Of The Poem ' Amaranth ' Essay example

1918 Words Oct 5th, 2016 8 Pages
In H.D.’s poem “Amaranth,” the speaker attempts to assert her autonomy amidst the goddess’s demand for absolute devotion and her lover’s need for affection and beauty. Torn between these two figures, the speaker occupies no-place, or rather an absence of self that she attempts to fill with compulsive repetition. Despite the speaker’s sporadic assertions of self-worth and independence however, repeated phrases do not signify what the speaker possesses, but what she lacks; focusing on themes such as blindness and grief, the speaker constructs a rhetoric of absence that repetition highlights rather than subverts. This absence in turn aligns the speaker’s persona with the early 20th century female poet, whose artistic potential is suppressed by conventional gender roles and attitudes towards women. The goddess therefore is not a figure of Greek myth but the archetypal Victorian “Lady;” the speaker’s lover likewise represents the patriarchal husband, who pushes the speaker to forgo her counter-cultural artistry and submit to traditional domesticity. Through emphasizing comparison and negation, repetition constructs an absence of self that illustrates how traditional modes of femininity jeopardize artistic expression in women. The ways in which repetition highlights the differences between the speaker and the Lady particularly construct this lack. The speaker’s main object of comparison throughout the poem is the goddess, whose “radiant and shameless” (H.D. III, 13)…

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