Fenian Men By Eavan Bolade Analysis

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“Mise Eire” Bringing Women into the World of Poetry

Eavan Boland is known for her poetry being controversial. The subjects of her poems, most notably “Anorexia” and “In His Own Image”, a poem about spousal abuse, were not wildly discussed at the time of their publication, and Boland believed that this wasn’t right. Most of her poems were brash in their own ways, no hidden meanings behind her words, and meant for discussion. “Mise Eire” also has an important role to play in these discussions; in it, Boland is pulling women out of the mythical land that they’ve been placed in for generations and put back into reality. Women are underrepresented in Irish poetry, and the ones that do mythicize women into maidens with extreme beauty or sexual
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Poems and songs about the Fenian rising of 1867 are still popular today, and it is doubtful that poems written about the 1916 rising will diminish any time soon. “Bold Fenian Men” is a song written about the braveness of those who went to fight in the Fenian rising, and while it is told from a female perspective, she places all of her focus on the braveness of men. In the poem “Wishes for my son,” a father wishes a better life for his son than the one he had, hoping that his fight for freedom takes hold, and that his son will not have to fight, but have a peaceful life. The sentiment is true and pure, but devoid of any thoughts for a daughter or a wife. The women in his life are found lacking, and once again, are absent from prominent poems. These poems gain nothing in removing female presences, nor would they lose meaning should they mention them in more than the role of elevating men. Boland simply wishes to do this, to make women in poetry be their own persons, have lives as complicated as their male counterparts without using a domination over men. The women in “Mise Eire” simply …show more content…
She may be wearing silks, but they are mismatched and worn without care. In the next two lines, we discover that she spends her time in “the garrison.” Anyone reading the poem would immediately know that this mean in the company of the British soldiers, the only ones around who would be able to give her anything of worth. The next stanza isn’t needed to explain what she is doing there. She expresses that she uses a ‘dove-strut’ while at the garrison, and the imagery there tells a lot. But the next stanza banishes all question as to her business with the soldiers: “who practices/the quick frictions,/the rictus of delight.” The boldness of these lines is shocking, not only because it’s not considered appropriate for poetry, but because it puts into perspective the plight of women, and the lives they needed to lead in order to survive. No mention is made of her family, nor would she mention them while she spent time at the garrison. The use of the word ‘delight’ suggests that the woman enjoys this work, which opens the idea of women being sexual creatures in their own merit, and not just for the pleasures of man. She makes her living off of the weakness of the British soldier in a turnabout way; they hold her country hostage and she uses her body as leverage to escape the poor standards of living that they instill on

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