Custom «Wishes for Sons & Singapore» Essay Paper Sample
Thesis: Lucille Clifton and Mary Oliver are great feminists and fighters for gender equality. Poetesses' struggle for a woman's equal with a man place in life can be felt through reading their poems. Clifton's poem "Wishes for Sons" ("Quilting" collection) was written in 1990 the same year as Oliver's "Singapore" ("House of Light" collection). Clifton had great social awareness and was very committed personality. Many of Clifton poems are devoted to women. Her poem I analyze in this paper is also devoted to female part of our society, but addressed to male's one. "Wishes for Sons" was written in the time of third-wave feminism (1980s-1990s), which has parallels with social and race issues. Reading her poem I have a feeling that Clifton is obsessed, to some extent, with gender identity and a desire to make a woman more known to men. She wishes men could feel what women have to go through. I was really impressed by the lines: "let the flashes come when they meet someone special. let the clots come when they want to" (10-14). These lines have raised a mixture of feelings in my heart.
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Unlike Clifton's poetry Oliver's poetry has much brighter imagery, because poetess herself grew up close to nature, rural suburb area. So, imagery of this poem is also bright: "Rivers are pleasant, and of course trees. A waterfall, or if that's not possible, a fountain rising and falling" (10-12). At the same time, however, her role as a poetess and her share in fighting for gender equality as a woman can be interpreted while reading her "Singapore". Surely, she does not speak for women's rights directly, but she implies that role (here work) of a woman is difficult: "A woman knelt there, washing something in the white bowl" (4-5). However, despite life difficulties a woman finds strengths to live, be happy, be tenderly beautiful and motherly kind.
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Looking back in the past in the 1990s one can say that a lot was done to protect women and their rights and a great merit in these changes is active struggle of women such as Clifton and Oliver for their rights and for acknowledgement. Oliver is sometimes compared to Henry Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. "Singapore" like many other Oliver's poems allude to nature. Moreover, themes of nature are intertwined with themes of woman's nature. Today, in the era of modernism, information excess, globalization, modernization, nature themes might be not so interesting to the reader as the used to be a few decades ago. On the one side, straightforward wishes to sons by Clifton might be more interesting and appealing to the contemporary audience than Oliver's story about a woman cleaning in a public toilet. However, all depends on personal tastes and preferences. On the other side, today's informational progress gives us a possibility to look inside woman's nature very deeply. Thus, this fact might make gender theme less important in the twenty-first century.
One has to admit that today artworks show life as it is without hiding or covering anything from reader's view. Even most intimate parts or situations are revealed. Literary works including poetry are too naturalistic today. Poets tend to use minimum of flowery words attempting to render the very nudity of life itself like Oliver and Clifton do in their poems. Speaking about woman's period is as straightforward as speaking about a woman washing ashtrays in public toilet. The poetesses speak openly about things not every one of us would speak about with a stranger or in public.
Therefore, both poetesses Oliver and Clifton reveal the truth of life as it is raising the issue of gender equality in their poems. Of course, gender and woman's nature are not the only themes these two authors speak about. There are many themes which intertwine between themselves as they do in real life. One cannot speak of gender without speaking about love and relationship; or life itself cannot be without such entities as freedom and peace; it is difficult to imagine sexuality without imagination or love.
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To sum up, "Wishes for Sons" by Clifton and "Singapore" by Oliver are great poems where authors raise the issue of gender equality, woman's role in life, freedom, nature of woman, relationship between a man and a woman.