Amy Lowell was first acknowledged as Harvard’s President’s sister who smoked big black cigars and was a very stout woman, however, it did not take much time at all for her to make her own name in America. At the beginning of her career Amy Lowell was particularly reticent. Only one source of information exists about her life that is not about her life’s work. The information was about her smoking cigars in public. In truth, the information was only a rumor that she smoked “big black cigars.” She actually smoked slender Manilas. Before long, she was known for her writing more so than to whom she was related and for what she inhaled (Rollyson 78, Moore 92).
“Patterns… is an outstanding example of her skill in the manipulation of free-verse rhythms and of her effective use of color and form to convey emotion,” (Kosek 71). Amy Lowell’s “Patterns” is a poem that displays a woman’s unhappiness with the patterns of her life. This work illustrates the disappointment she felt with her life and her perceived lack of choices in taking a new path. Lowell’s representation of the woman is keyed in to three main tools: atmosphere, imagery, and metaphor. A concise examination of these three tools will show how “Patterns” attains the overall message of the poem (71).
The atmosphere of the poem in the beginning is an overall mood of insignificance. As the main character is walking through the garden paths contemplating life’s paths for her, the woman in the poem expresses her deep displeasure of how she is just another object roaming the path that was chosen for her. She mournfully points out that life just continues and adapts, even after the abrupt changes in the patterns of her own life. She feels as if she is imprisoned and closed off from what she really wants and from her own true self. “The carefully arranged garden paths and flowerbeds cause her to reflect that her society has similarly arranged for her, seeing to it that she will passively endure her stiff brocaded gown, her powdered hair, and a jeweled fan after the fashion of the day (Birns 2952).
As the poem progresses, the atmosphere intensifies, giving off the mood of hopelessness because she cannot manipulate her own path of life. Therefore, she compares her gown to her own life, both of which are confining; contemplating her wishes that her life events were different, she becomes quite angry at her clothes as they begin to remind her of her late betrothed. “Her social mask is that of a decorous product of her society, the socially constructed femininity represented by her gown and the formal garden acts as a prison for her body” (Birns 2954). She considers how she must wear the dress because society recognizes it as accepted, and then she imagines her lover in his military uniform which he wore to fight and to die for his country (2952-2954).
In the poem as the speaker reminisces and presents the atmosphere becomes depressing. She takes the letter from her bosom, which contain the devastating...