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Analysis Of Ann Sexton

’s Works Essay, Research Paper Peter. Schlong. Richard. Big Jim. Are any of these words more than mildly offensive? My contention is that, although they aren’t a part of my regular speech,

’s Works Essay, Research Paper

Peter. Schlong. Richard. Big Jim. Are any of

these words more than mildly offensive? My contention is

that, although they aren’t a part of my regular speech,

they are only mildly unpleasant, if at all. Some forms

of the word “penis” even evoke a sense of power. A

man’s worth is sometimes said to be measured by the

girth of his package. In relation to the previously

started discussion, does the word “vagina” roll off

one’s back as easily? The common answer would be no.

Forms of the word “vagina” are even thought of as some

of the most gut-wrenching curse words, especially to a

man. With her poem, “In Celebration of My Uterus,” Ann

Sexton is sure to raise a few eyebrows and evoke a few

gasps. Those who succomb to the cultural pressures of

our paternal culture are not surprisingly outraged. To

those of us who try to swim against the proverbial

current, however, the frank manner in which Sexton

presents a body part that we find so sacred is

refreshing. When thinking of the uterus, the first

association one makes is that which includes the

menstrual cycle. This thought makes most people, men

and women alike, uneasy. Men are taught to avoid

menstrual blood, while women have aquired the automatic

need to complain about it. The second association

related to the uterus is that which ties it to

child-bearing, which, although it is known as the

miracle of life, is easily passed off as a curse in this

age of condoms, the “morning after,” pill and abortion.

The outrage that this poem ellicits is the same type of

outrage that accompanied the fight for womens’ voting

rights and equality in the work place. Sexton

presents the uterus as the foundation of humankind. The

uterus is “the soil of the field” (line 18) that

“cover(s and) does contain” (line 17) the “roots” (line

19) of the “commonwealth” (line 23). Not only does the

uterus house the roots when conception occurs, but it

also contains the shell of every seed that is sown.

“There is enough here to please a nation”(line 21). If

you count up the number of cycles awoman has in her

lifetime and consider that as the number of eggs her

body contains, the numbers are astounding. This is a

constant that has nothing to do with class or race or

religion. There are echoes of this gift in every woman

from the “one (who) is at the toll gate collecting”

(line 31) to the “one (who) is straddling the cello in

Russia” (line 33), and even more obviously in the “one

(who) is wiping the ass of her child” (line 38).

In the days of Ani Difranco and the “Vagina Monologues,”

this poem seems rather censored, but falls into the same

category of those brave women who use the shock value of

their strength to make a political, and, perhaps,

humanitarian statement. This poem ends with a list of

occupations that women could be called to, some

stereotypical, some not. Regardless of the occupation

chosen, it is the right to choose and the strength that

accompanies that right that is being celebrated, not

simply but loudly. This poem creates outrage because it

is rooted in outrage. This outrage is disguised by all

womens’ forced silence. Outrage in poetry is a healthy

and change provoking element, as long as it is correctly

aimed. So let us all not be afraid to “sing for the

supper, for the kissing, for the correct yes” (lines

57-61).

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