Analysis Of The Making Of An Irish Goddess By Susan Boland

4009 Words 17 Pages
In addition to using myth to empower women and to be a witness for their ordeals, Boland has also used myth to explore personal family relationships—an important part of the female experience. In particular, she has used the Ceres myth often in her poetry. She uses it again in her 1990 poem "The Making of an Irish Goddess" to illustrate the complexities of motherhood. She begins her revision of the myth almost as a passive observer:
Ceres went to hell with no sense of time.
When she looked back all that she could see was the arteries of silver in the rock,
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
But I need time— my flesh and that history— to make the same descent. (ll.1-5, ll.11-13)
In the ancient myth, a frantic Ceres descended into the underworld
…show more content…
Here, we can see Boland using myth to deconstruct chauvinistic assumptions about a young woman's place in the world. As Boland mocks the nuns who rebuke the young student for speaking, we also see that Boland is using ancient mythology to advise young women not to allow any patriarchal institution—literary, social, or religious—to silence them.

In her poem “Story,'' published in In a Time o f Violence (1994), Eavan Boland works at uncovering these “past and future women” . The poem starts by describing the story of two lovers who are running from an elderly king, thus evoking the legend of Diarmuid and Grainne. The lovers come up with a plan to keep themselves safe from the king:
“We can start / a rumour in the wood to reach the king— / that she has lost her youth. That her mouth is / cold. That this woman is growing older” (ll.11-14). They start the rumour, but they do not understand how their legend relies “on her to be young and beautiful” (l.18). The legend has been disrupted to the point that there is a disruption in time as well. Suddenly, the reader is carried to “a suburb / at the foothills of the mountains in Dublin. / And a garden with jasmine and poplars” (ll.29-31), where Boland is writing at her
…show more content…
In contrast, this critic explains, some of the better known Irish male poets are concerned with the land rather than with the people of the land, and they lay less emphasis on the value of the self, which is a central question for women poets. This “place” imagery is used to refer to Irish political history and the poetic self’s relationship to his place in history. Meanwhile, women poets are less concerned with the “public world” of their male colleagues (ibid). In their poetry, they prefer kitchens, and nursery rooms, for instance. Accordingly, Eavan Boland, as a woman poet, describes herself as an “indoor poet” (Allen-Randolph,1993b: 124).
Her interest in Ireland, as we will see later in more detail, is an interest in kitchen utensils, washing machines, bicycles, the baby’s bottle and patchwork. As she says, “these were parts of my world. Not to write about them would have been artificial” (ibid). In a later prose work, she

Related Documents