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Adrienne Rich's 21 Love Poems: An Analysis On Three Of The Poems In The Series.

1071 words - 4 pages

In "Twenty-One Love Poems" by Adrienne Rich, each poem helps us understand her life. We as the readers get a "sneak peak" at the struggles she faces due to an almost 'doomed' love affair she has with another woman. The settings of her poems take place in Manhattan which she refers to as the "island of Manhattan" many times. There is a transitioning from beginning to end of this short collection of poems. Rich begins her collection with a jolly almost exuberant tone of passion and romance she shares with her lover. In poem IV she states "I open the mail, drinking delicious coffee, delicious music, my body still both light and heavy with you" (10-12). The speaker here is having physical contact with her lover, juxtaposed to the later poems where the lover is only a memory. The solitude she finds herself in is seen in poem XVIII: "Close between grief and anger, a space opens where I am Adrienne alone. And growing colder" (13-14). This is the exact point where we find out her sadness and loss she has experienced. I will focus on this side of the spectrum, Adrienne Rich's transition into solitude.Poem XVIII starts off with rain in the city, and the speaker is at a red light at Riverside. It can be interpreted that the rain is in correlation with her sadness and/or tears as to finding herself at a stop in her life, which is in correlation with the red light she is currently waiting on. This assertion can be made by the lines that follow: "the more I live, the more I think/ two people together is a miracle" (3-4). She is clearly being judgmental about relationships in general based on her experiences in love. Two people together don't necessarily have to be viewed as a miracle like she puts it. Two women however, in her time, had to have a hidden love, completely unknown to the outside world. The end result would be that their love for each other would have to always stay hidden, as to why she writes: "The story of our lives becomes our lives" (7). She continues by telling her lover that she knows her response already, and that it most likely will sound like something some Victorian poet would say. "… salt estranging sea" is what she pulls from Matthew Arnold's "To Marguerite" which is mostly stating that we are all alone no matter the millions of people around us. Rich ends the poem by stating that she is in a state of "estrangement." Estrangement is separation resulting from hostility, but in this case the estrangement can possibly be synonymous for a fresh start. What can be very hard to understand about the ending of this poem is that although "a clef of light" is visible, Adrienne feels more alone than ever. Although the start of something new can be both, good and frightening for someone, the start of this new day for Adrienne makes her feel colder than she ever has felt.Rich continues in poem XIX to show the darker side of the "island of Manhattan." The poem starts off with a question "Can it be growing colder...

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