*The poem “A work of Artifice” is written by Marge Piercy. The poem describes a bonsai tree and uses the tree as a metaphor for woman, by depicting woman that is treated unfairly, especially by not giving them their freedom of rights. I will prove my argument in this essay by examining the main metaphor, the relationship between the tree and the gardener, the tree symbolizing women and the Chinese foot binding.
The bonsai tree represents a woman and the gardener is a man. The gardener is a man because every day he whittles back the branches. In line 2 the bonsai tree is in an attractive pot. This pot prevents the bonsai the tree (woman) from growing on a mountainside. This also means the gardener is protecting the tree. It is ironic that the gardener provides the tree a home, yet in line 3 “could have grown eighty feet tall” suggests that it was frequently pruned and molded with the help of wire to give a certain artistic quality and shape the branches and the trunk. The tree is used for commercial benefits. Parallels in the poem allow the tree to become a metaphor for women in society.
The metaphor of the bonsai tree is symbolizing women and their roles in society. In line 7 “carefully pruned” signifying its importance the idea of protection is also present as the tree could have grown tall been “split by lightning” instead it is coddled and cared for. Line 9 -10 “every day as he whittles back the branches” it suggest that the gardener takes good care of the tree. Bonsai trees are subject to pruning root reduction, potting, defoliation and grafting. Just like these trees, women were restricted from reaching their full potential. Women are considered prized in the poem. Line 11 “the gardener croons” as one would with an infant. This suggests that the women were looked after. Women are forced into nature. Line 13-14 “small and cozy/ domestic and weak”. This suggests that if woman were small and weak, then it would be an advantage for the gardener that wanted to control it. It also refers to staying in the house and being content with that.
Women were forced to accept a position that may not be suited them. They were also regarded as lucky. Line 15-16 “how lucky, little tree, to have a pot to grow in”. This suggest that women had to be lucky to be given a pot (house) to grow in and must feel grateful for everything the...