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In Response To:

Andrew Ho
American poetry
10, Dec 1998
"To Speak of Woe That Is in Marriage"
This poem centers on the wife under the assailment of domestic problem. The speaker is lamenting over her violence-oriented and drunkard husband who arises "home disputes", "cruses for prostitutes", "might kill his wife."
The poem begins with an ominous prelude that ' "The hot night" ' foreshadows the sizzling and stifling tension between that couple. The blossoming magnolia presents a hopeful and lively feeling and it provides a strong contrast to the withering life of the wife. ' "Life begins to happen" ' suggests two possible interpretations. The first one is the life of blossoming flower is budding and prolific; however, the life of the wife is oppositely under her husband's threat. The second one might suggest that life refer to the wives' baby therefore the speaker is pregnant.' "Our magnolia blossoms" ' has already insinuates her pregnancy because magnolia is a white flower and the white color implies the babies' complexion. The next three lines talk about after her indignant (hopped up) husband arises disputes, he goes to find dangerous (razor's edge) sex with prostitutes. The words ' "drops" 'and ' "hits" ' can also describe the husbands' authoritative nature. Then the wife worries her crazy husband might kill her and be sent behind the bars or convicted innocent (take the pledge). ' " Monotonous meanness " ' means her husband has already numb with his unchangeable demands of lust. The ellipsis periods have a great effect to express the husband numerous bad behaviors (of his lust . . ..) and also the wives' unspeakable sorrow and complaints (It's the injustice . . .); however, the ellipsis periods in "his car key on my thigh íK" suggest the wife's uncertainty and vagueness to what if she runs away from her husband. The wife is fidget about her unpredictable bomb-like husband; she has no idea when will her husband loose his temper (what makes him tick). The last two lines are eerily depicting the sex abuse. The wife degrades her husband as animals (Gored; elephant) and she describes her husband's relentless and gigantic animality. ' "Gored" ' means to stab with a horn or tusk therefore the ivory has a phallic symbol. I think this poem is very horrifying especially the last two lines.
The use of quotation of the whole poem is much colloquial like and it draws the readers closer to the poem. The title of this poem is the quotation from the wife and it seems more convincing that the wife is alive because the poet borrows the spoken words of wife. The every two lines rhyme as open and happen, disputes and prostitutes etc. The application of epigraph occurs to me that of The French Lieutenants' Woman. The intertextual elements offer relevant references between the poem and the epigraph. The epigraph ironically contrasts the miserable wife as ' "pressing into being by means of these exuberant feelings." ' I have no idea about what dose' " supersensible soap bubbles of ours" ' mean and who is Schopenhauer.

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