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The Feminist Struggle Portrayed In Brief History Of The Horse

1378 words - 6 pages

The Feminist Struggle Portrayed in Brief History Of The Horse  

Lorna Crozier's poem, "A Brief History Of The Horse", offers many different interpretations. However, the structure of the poem breaks down into three stages: past, present, and future. By examining the archetypes within the poem, it can be suggested that the horse stands to represent the feminist struggle, the ongoing battle for women to have an equal place in society.

In explicating "A Brief History Of The Horse," it is of primary importance to examine the logopoeia (thought level) of the poem. The archetype of the horse suggests the poem's feminist aspect. To elucidate, the horse, as a Jungian archetype, represents motherhood and the magic side of man. What Jung refers to as the "`mother withing all of us,' or intuitiveness, and lies in the subconscious"(Cirlot, 151). In Crozier's poem, reference to the subconscious is quite apparent in the first stanza or stage; the horse grazes in "pastures of sleep." A grazing horse is also symbolic of freedom and peace (Oderr, 69); however, this freedom can only be obtained in sleep. The mother figure is also represented by the fact that the soldiers are within the horse. They are in the belly of the horse: "the soldiers feel the sway of the horse's belly as she races night across the meadows"(260). This implies the notion of a fetus in a womb. However, the men (soldiers) are not aware of the outside world of the horse, believing that they are in "a hold of a ship that smells of grass and forgetfulness"(260). Thus, the notion that the horse is grazing in a pasture of green grass (peace), yet the men(soldiers) are unable to see the truth. They are unaware of what problems the horse is actually faced with. The soldiers lack intuitiveness and understanding, locked "each in his own corner of darkness, his corner of despair"(260). They are blind to the ills of the horse, to which, being a male, I would have to agree. It is hard for one to acknowledge or even comprehend the struggles of another unless you are the individual. For example, I can examine what it would be like to be a woman in society, but I could never truely grasp what it is like to be pregnant, or to give birth, or constantly play a subordinate role. The soldier's lack of intuitiveness and understanding of the horse is explicitly explained by Crozier, "they can't understand her hours of stillness" or "the mad sound of flies eating her ears" (260). Therefore, men(the soldiers) are not able to comprehend, nor are they willing to understand the feminine struggle. This unwillingness from men to accept or understand the feminist perspective is demonstrated in the next line: "each remembers being pushed through the pale thighs of his wound away from the field where he fell." Thus, men reject the notion of the fact that women are the bearers; humanity is carried and born by women. However, "his wound" may connotate that to be born of a woman is somewhat hurtful. It is their...

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