D Habitude Poem Analysis

2397 Words10 Pages
The Overwhelming Power of Habits in the Poem “D’habitude” by Moira Egan. Does it sometimes strike you that what you are doing in a particular situation is largely prompted by the habits you have? Indeed, when we give thought to it, we understand that at times, our decisions are fueled more by how we are used to acting than by pure reasoning. In her poem “D’habitude,” Moira Egan reflects on this idea, applying it to a secret love affair, in which the speaker of the poem finds herself entangled. She points out that acting by habit – d’habitude in French – is appealing to all humans, even if it contradicts with what reason tells them. Perhaps, this is because of the comfort and joy we feel, which make particular habits preferable to us in the…show more content…
Sitting “in the cosmic chain of being,” as she calls it (12-13), she and her lover are both busy with their, obviously habitual, occupations – namely, she is working, while he is reading the poems. The idea of the “chain of being,” introduced by Plato and Aristotle thousands of years ago, is connected with the idea of humans being the creatures of habit. The chain of being stands for the hierarchical system in which all matter and life in the world finds itself. The speaker in the poem limits the initially longer chain to three components: “God, humans, creatures” (12), probably understanding the important distinction between these forms of life. According to the chain of being concept, the position in the hierarchy cannot be changed. Therefore, the state in which one finds oneself at a specific chain level is self-perpetuating, just like habits are. By analogy, the occupations the speaker and her lover are involved in appear to be constant – this is what they are used to do in a situation they were put into by external factors. Opposed to creatures, humans are considered to have reason and think rationally; but opposed to God, they are also subject to earthly passions and, therefore, habits and desires. Thus, occupying a level of chain reserved for humans, the main characters of the poem are bound to follow their habits…show more content…
On the one hand, it can be that the chaos was created because the “yes,” given at the altar to this other woman by the man, did not have behind it the sufficient love for her – sufficient for the purpose of being always faithful to her, i.e. there was a part of the man that wanted to say “no” instead of a “yes.” On the other hand, the “yes” can symbolize the consent that the speaker in the poem gave to starting this type of relationship with the man in question, even though the reason (an essential characteristic of humans in the chain of being) and, perhaps, the social convention told her that she should have said “no” to this. Mentioning the chaos that was “created by a yes / born of a no” (23-24) was, probably, used to emphasize the idea of the struggle that human beings continually experience when choosing between following their reason and their
Open Document