The Permissive Objectification of Women
The poems “On Sharing a Husband” and “Things Cheaply Had” illustrate the struggle of women to survive in a male dominated culture. Both poems express a straightforward idea of the objectification of women in two distinct cultures. A close investigation of imagery and diction in both poems reveal the permissive nature of the objectification of women. In accordance, both poems do not hide the idea of being objectified, but conceals the idea of a need to permissively objectified. Therefore, the poem depicts that permissive objectification of women was a means of survival in a male dominated society.
“On Sharing a Husband” the first two stanzas are straight forward and reveals the mood of the speaker. “ Screw the fate that makes you share a man. One cuddles under cotton blankets; the other’s cold.” , illustrates the speakers frustration that is experienced in her relationship with her male figure. The use of the word “screw” implies a sense of anger and resentment toward the cultural understanding of husbandry. The poet expresses the biast nature of a commitment to a man, who is in charge of multiple women. “ One cuddles under cotton blankets, the other’s cold.” The poet implies the women were treated as conveniences and not individuals Likewise, she implies that the need for commitment springs from the need to survive in a society of ultimate dependence. “ You try to stick to it like a fly on rice, but the rice is rotten. You slave like the maid. The dislike for commitment is reiterated when the speaker compares her relationship as a fly stuck on a rice. The imagery of a fly stuck on a rice illustrates the the weight of a relationship and the dependence for necessities Likewise, the poet uses rice and fly due to their importance in the Vietnamese culture. The image of fly stuck to the rice is a good analogy used to illustrate the burden the speaker experiences with her relationship with her male figure. The image of weighted burden of the speaker is essential to understand the theme of permissive objectification. In accordance, the speaker compares herself to the rice that is stuck on the fly. Furthermore, the speaker refers to the rice as “ rotten” due to the long suffering from the relationship the poet has experienced .
Once the image of burden has been established, the speaker talks of her permissive willingness to stay committed for survival. In stanzas seven and eight, the speaker advocates “ but without pay. If i had known how it would go I think i would have lived alone. In spite of the speakers anguish toward the commitment to a man, the only means of survival in that culture is through relationship ties. In spite of her discontentment in the injustice shown in the relationship, the speaker has an obligation to keep up the relationship. It is evident that culture and society is responsible for the speakers negative attitude toward objectification in a relationship. The speaker has no...