Overcoming Notions and Finding Identity Essay

568 Words 3 Pages
The poem "Woman" by Nikki Giovanni tells a story of a female who straggles to fuse together her need for self actualization and empowerment, with the socially instilled in her notion about her role as a female, and with the notion that she needs to have a man in her life to achieve what she wants. At the end of her struggles she instead chooses to be a "Woman" - a separate entity who does not require a man, - and she discovers that that is "all / right"(22,23). Through the act of becoming a "Woman", a wholly independent opposite to a man, yet his equal, she relinquishes her notions regarding her role as a mare female, and empowers herself to achieve her goals without a man.

Except for the title the entire poem is written in lowercase
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Again the female turns to a man to be her "leaves"(6), to give her means to remain sheltered in the background yet able to express herself. However the man "refuses to be / her tree"(7,8), he refuses to give her support and refuge.

In the third stanza of the poem we begin to feel the desperation the female feels at not being able to merge her contradicting needs and notions. She spreads herself thin, using up her entire energy to find a balance. She stretches herself out, and ties herself in knots like a "web"(9); she is a female in turmoil. However all her energies go to waste, "and "(10), they lead to nothing. The empty space in line ten illustrates to us the result of the female's efforts, and her own feelings of emptiness. But the man still refuses to give her shelter, he has no wish to take care of her and be "her corner"(13) to turn to.

The female cannot comprehend why the man refuses to support and protect her, so she tries to be more open with him, more easily understood. In the next stanza she tries to be like an open "book"(14), but he is not interested in communication or in figuring her out. He makes no attempt at "reading" her signs.

In the following couplet we are presented with an image of a plant "bulb"(16). A bulb or a seed is a symbol for life and change; it is also a symbol for

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