Friday, May 9, 2008

Theory Questions of "The Silence of Women" by Liz Rosenberg

Rosenberg's poem displays gender criticism ideas. The entire poem is about women becoming more vocal and demanding as they grow older. It the poem suggests this is the case because in younger years the women had to be quiet and listen to what the men have to say. The poem comments, "A lifetime of yes has left them/ hissing bent as snakes (6-7). The poem discusses patriarchal ideals and women being submissive, but as the couples grow older these roles switch. The switch in roles is seen in the line, "the chicken hatching back into the egg" (12).

This poem clearly in cooperates gender criticism ideas through discussion of roles in men and women's lives.


1) Does this poem take on patriarchal ideals or feminist?

2)How does imagery in the poem further our understanding of these ideals?

3) Is there any symbolism in the musical references found in the poem?

1 comment:

Mrs. Bedwin said...

I definitely see this poem as resisting traditional patriarchal roles. The speaker makes it clear that the women were taught and expected to constantly be subservient to their husbands, to always say 'yes', " A lifetime of yes has left them hissing bent as snakes." (lines 6, 7) Because of the societal expectations of women to be 'silent and not heard' women have suppressed themselves, and, in this poem, they are rebelling against that. Readers get the picture that these women have been bottled up for centuries not being able to say a thing by lines such as, " Sit there! and don't you move!" and " oh lifetime of silence!" where they suddenly have enough of expectations, and explode.