Adrienne Rich, Rape Essay, Research Paper
Expressing love for a woman can be done in such a way, that it causes the destruction of her soul. A very thought provoking poem, Rape , written by Adrienne Rich, provides a rich example of a world that is often hidden. Although the poet uses numerous elements, such as imagery, to disguise her true intentions, a good understanding will allow us to see it for what it truly is, a cry for help.
The title of the poem doesn t leave much for the reader to uncover. Using Rape as a title shows her directness to this poem, as well as the essence of the poem. Why did she choose such a powerful word? If, in fact, this poem deals with a situation where someone has been raped, then we might assume she wanted to attract a particular audience, possibly one who s been in their situation.
A quick glance at the poem will tell you that it is a free verse poem. Words do not rhyme, nor follow a typical structure. However, you will notice there are six stanzas with five lines each. We can assume from the title of the poem that the author might have used this technique to show that she wasn t concerned with perfection, but the expression of what she wanted to say. Nevertheless, we are unknowing of what this poem is actually about.
The first line begins with, There is a cop who is both prowler and father. This is a superb beginning that can be mistaken for the start of a narrative story. As you finish reading the first stanza, you get a descriptive look at this cop. We learn he is father, grew up with her family, and commonly keeps one hand on a gun. While this information may appear irrelevant, she is building a stepping stone for the reader. From now on, we have a picture in our minds about the cop, which will guide us throughout the poem.
The second stanza takes a more introspective view of the cop. This may be due to the fact that her anger and fear is unavailing. he has access to machinery that can kill you is a clear sign of fear of the cop s ability to kill with ease. Instead of using a direct word, such as a gun, she used machinery. This technique intensifies the word s meaning and helps the audience understand that she is concerned about his potential.
The following line, He and his stallion clop like warlords among the trash use a string of metaphors. They re used to describe the feeling she gets as he approaches her on his stallion horse. By saying, like warlords among the trash , she s telling the audience that the clopping of the horse isn t that of a horse carrying a man of honor, like we would have imagined. Instead, she makes it clear that she feels like trash, and he s stepping right over it. The remainder of this stanza emphasizes his stature of empowerment, and the demise of her identity.
The third stanza goes into gruesome detail of the act of which the cop performed. You are seeing the event through her eyes, feeling the destruction. You have a feeling of remorse and anger. You are left helpless and in need to cry for help. The hysteria in his voice pleases him best shows explicitly that the rapist enjoyed the torture he was bringing upon her.
The forth stanza continues on but with a twist that should shock the audience. The first line has her staring into his blue eyes. And in those eyes, she talks about the family she used to know. Now, if you refer back to the first line in the first stanza, you will notice how she mentions father. Putting those two ideas together, you can make a generalization that the cop who has raped her, is indeed, her father.
As we approach the second to the last stanza, she begins to read deep in the mind of the cop. Instead of talking about what he looks like, what he did, or his lifestyle, she creates assumptions about what he s thinking. This may be the initial reaction after the event. He probably spoke to her and told her some things that led to these assumptions. She feels as if he enjoyed every moment of it and is in a sense, mocking her. She senses his desires and believes he is receiving a mutual response.
Finally, the last stanza is the reasoning behind the continued abuse. As we ask ourselves, why allow yourself to be degraded in such a way? , she explains with preciseness. He has access to machinery that could get you put away is in my opinion, the basis of this poem. She is afraid of the consequences of saying a word to anyone who can help. Either from manipulation, or assumptions created, she believes that if anyone finds out, she will go to jail. This leads me to believe that she is young and unable to fight for herself because of her youth. Obviously, getting justice will not cause you to go to jail. However, that is her belief, and for good reason. If it is indeed her father, then she will believe what he says. And because he is a cop, he might have created a perfect lie involving his job to frighten her.
A phrase is repeated twice towards the end that s significant to the poem. and if, if the sickening light of the precinct leads us to believe that the sexual acts might have been performed in the precinct. She find such a disgust for the precincts lights, possibly because she s seen the lights while the horrible acts have been performed.
Causing harm to another human being is one thing, but destroying their soul goes a lot deeper. This woman went through a hell out of her control. You can easily hear the cry s she portrays throughout the poem. The question still remains, Why did she make this poem It appears that this was written in a journal not long after the event. However, I believe the poem was meant to be found. She wanted to share these feelings, but feared of the consequences. However, she entered a state where she was willing to get caught because she knew it was wrong to hold this in.
This poem can be interpreted in another way as well. Who s to say that it was a young girl at all? To the extent we know, it could have well been a young boy going through this vicious event. These questions still remain as we come to the close. Even through further analysis of this poem, I m sure you ll agree, a fathers touch can only go so far.