Conquering Male Gaze In Marianne Moore's Poem Graveyard

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World War I and the Conquering Male Gaze in Marianne Moore’s Poem “Graveyard” When thinking of a graveyard, you think of a place where dead people are buried. Through imagery and metaphor, Marianne Moore takes you on a ride of your life capturing life’s hardships along the way. Moore’s early poetry was written during a period of profound political and social upheaval. The women’s suffrage movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries culminated in the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, guaranteeing women the right to vote. The women’s rights movement continued to advocate of gender equality, influencing women’s writing. From 1914 to 1918, the First World War redefined military conquest. Though the United States did not enter …show more content…
Moore explains that the poem’s “literal origin” occurred when she and her mother were watching the surf after a storm in Maine and an arrogant man moved to stand in their way. Moore writes, “‘Don’t be annoyed,’ my mother said. ‘It is human nature to stand in the middle of a thing’” (Hammer, “Handout”). Moore included the quote from her mother word for word in the poem (Hammer, “Lecture”). In fact, the line gets to the very heart of the poem. It is human nature for people to imagine themselves the center of the universe and that everything they see is there specifically for them to see. This echoes the driving quest for territorial expansion that led to World War I and at the same time warns that the desire to claim what one sees will only lead to future …show more content…
She also implies that he is attempting to take something from the sea by viewing it. She does so by countering “taking” in line 2 with the verb “give” in line 5. The man’s arrogant attempt to claim nature by gazing on it is ultimately foiled, because “the sea has nothing to give but a well excavated grave” (Moore 5). The man wants to stand in the middle of everything but he literally cannot stand in the middle of the sea because it is liquid. Moore uses a metaphor to compare the sea to a “well excavated grave.” This introduces the idea that the man’s project is dangerous. He wants to claim the sea by gazing on it, but he is ignorant of the fact that what he actually looks on is a

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