Summary Of Karen Ruddy's Poem

1300 Words6 Pages
accordingly, in this case in terms of her mother’s effective projection of her own self-hate and hence craving for masculine identification onto her. Secondly, and by way of continuation to the latter, the narrator’s search for personal agency self-empowerment, or control, therefore ultimately a sense of inner peace and happiness instinctively sought by all human beings, is even more concretely intimated by her own reference to her clothes. She points out that she is wearing “a man’s flat-brimmed hat”, in which “The crucial ambiguity of her image lies”, as “beneath the man’s hat, the thin awkward shape, the inadequacy of childhood, has turned into something else”, having “ceased to be a harsh inescapable imposition of nature” (the latter referring…show more content…
Firstly, with regard to Do, the narrator mentions that “she will never my [her] mother”, not “even when my [her] elder brother tries to rape her”, or “even when her wages stop being paid” (Duras 70). The narrator expresses a somewhat implicit, tacit resentment toward Do’s meek submissiveness, which she presumably, understandably from a cultural standpoint, sees as a characteristic or at least expected behavioral trait of females in such a patriarchal setting. Secondly, I could argue that Hélène’s not attending high school due to her being “not capable of it”, which, as Günther states, implies her “suffering from learning difficulties” (90), in addition to her act of “crying” in front of the narrator (Duras 71, 72) paint a similar image of female debilitation and inertia. In furtherance of the latter assumption, Hélène’s last name, Lagonelle, can be construed as symbolic of her passivity and submissiveness, as the the prefix “Lagon” resembles the French word “lagun”, which means “lagoon”, while the suffix “elle” translates in English into the pronoun “she”. The image conjured up by the image of a lake, in conjunction with its being gendered as female, can be seen as signifying Hélène’s exhibition of certain “quintessentially” female attributes, such as a kind of phlegmatic meekness and obedience. The narrator’s aversion to Hélène’s femaleness, resulting from her mother’s projection of her own internalized similar resentment onto her, is exhibited in the form of a wish for “self-punishing” (Günther 90), which resembles the mother’s “desire for self-annihilation” (Günther 88), meaning annihilation of her female identity through the espousal of a
Open Document