Stevie Smith and Marriage Essay

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Stevie Smith and Marriage

Stevie and Marriage: Preface
Florence "Stevie" Smith grew up in unstable family conditions. Her family was falling apart, and she observed every moment with hushed censure. These repressed feelings can be seen in her poetry. Her unfortunate childhood experiences attribute to a mistrustful, cynical tone in her poem "Marriage I Think."
For sources I have consulted three separate levels of libraries. At the high school library I found a series called Critical Survey Of Poetry that has been most helpful in providing background information on Smith, as well as critical reviews of some of her poems. The Shippensburg Public Library as well as the Bosler Library has provided a collection of Smith's later
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Stevie and Marriage Florence "Stevie" Smith grew up in unstable family conditions. Her family was falling apart, and she observed every moment with hushed censure. These repressed feelings can be seen in her poetry. Her unfortunate childhood experiences attribute to a mistrustful, cynical tone in her poem "Marriage I Think." Smith's poem "Marriage I Think" contains many references to her belief that the bond of marriage between a man and a woman is fraudulent, particularly for the woman. Her poem reads,
Marriage I think
For women
Is the best of opiates
It kills the thoughts
That think about the thoughts,
It is the best of opiates.
(lines 1-6)
By comparing marriage (for women) to a mind-numbing narcotic, Smith clearly uses a pessimistic tone. She contends that the marital bond, contrary to popular belief, hurts women on the inside. In 1906 4-year-old Smith, her ill mother Ethel, sister Molly, and aunt Margaret are deserted by her father Charles, the main support of the family. Charles grows bored with the marriage, and abruptly sets out on his childhood dream of becoming a naval officer (Sternlicht 4). At this point, Smith's family of four women, including two children and a sick mother, are left to fend for themselves, with the care of Smith's aunt. In another one of Smith's poems entitled "Papa Love Baby," she writes that she "wished mama hadn't made such a foolish marriage./…it showed in my eyes

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