Language In The Farmer's Bride

Good Essays
How does Charlotte Mew use language to show the powerlessness of the bride?
‘The Farmer’s Bride’ was written in the 19th century in what, today, would be seen as a misogynistic and patriarchal environment; Charlotte Mew uses this to induce the female audience as they are able to empathise with the farmer’s bride, who may be seen as a symbolic representation of all women in the era, when the poet tells us the farmer ‘chose’ her as his ‘maid’ in the first line. This informs us that the young girl had no choice in her marriage already conveying her as powerless and through the use of ‘maid’ the audience assume, due to the time period, that the farmer is much older than his bride perhaps depicting the girl as vulnerable, weak and innocent, therefore,
…show more content…
We see this when the maid is ‘chased’ and a ‘key’ is ‘turned…upon her, fast.’ after she is caught. The bride is seen as powerless due to the fact that she is being chased, and usually, a hunt concludes with the human succeeding against a ‘hare’, the animal that the bride is compared to. The word ‘fast’ depicts the bride as helpless as she cannot do anything to prevent herself from being locked up and is seen as someone who needs to be tamed. The use of punctuation in the sentence ‘And turned the key upon her, fast.’ is used to underline the bride’s helpless enclosure by embedding the word ‘fast’ between a comma and a full stop securely. The powerlessness of the bride is emphasised at the beginning of the third stanza where ‘She does the work about the house’ illustrating unwilling obedience immediately after being locked up, this is further stressed when she is described by her husband using the simile ‘like a mouse’ presenting her as silent and…show more content…
We then see the farmer’s unrequited ‘love’ throughout the poem where his bride is neglecting the idea of a husband “Not near, not near!’ her eyes beseech” the only words we hear from the bride show begging and trepidation, he notices her androphobia and it seems to impact his emotions when we reach the fourth stanza which stands out as a sensual, admiring description of the wife by the farmer. The poet uses sibilance (‘Shy…swift…/Straight…slight/Sweet…She/…Self.’) to convey the farmer’s whispered appreciation and leads on to compare her to nature ‘Sweet as the first wild violets,’ strengthening the farmer’s positive opinion of his wife, however, she does not show him the affection he desires, contrasting the predator-prey relationship I discussed in the first paragraph where only the farmer benefited. She is ‘Sweet.../To her wild self. But what to me?’ ending the stanza with a rhetorical question strongly suggests his unhappiness however the poet’s use of caesura, breaking the monotonous rhythm, and forcing the reader to take note of the phrase that proceeds the caesura further enforces the farmer’s deprived feelings in our minds. On the contrary, readers may interpret the farmer’s sudden outburst of affection towards
Get Access