Analysis of ‘Patterns’ Written by Amy Lowell Essay
2187 WordsSep 12th, 20109 Pages
Amy Lowell is an American imagist poet who uses descriptive language to create specific images in a readers mind. Set in the Victorian era (1800’s,) the dramatic monologue ‘Patterns’ explores the restrictions of unmarried women in society and the desire for freedom. My view of these issues is that of a feminist reader living in a democratic modern day society, where men and women live in a state of equality and have the right to express their opinions. A feminist reading focuses on the specific treatment of women. Through Lowell’s wondrous use of the poetic techniques, primarily visual imagery (symbolism, repetition, contrasts) and poetic voice (persona and tone,) a modern day feminist reader’s negative views of the restricted lifestyles…show more content…
This develops the idea that her future with this man as a married woman provided a stable lifestyle where she would not have to live by the rigid patterns of society, reinforcing a modern day feminist reader’s view of the expectations and restrictions placed on unmarried women during the Victorian era.
There is a distinct contrast between appearance and reality, which works to reinforce the idea of confining individualistic behaviours to retain the ‘pattern’ of society. In stanza two, she says that “tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes/ (there is) not a softness anywhere about (her)” (lines 16 and 17) when she’s wearing “only whalebone and brocade” (line 18.) The term ‘whalebone’ refers to a whalebone corset, which is a very hard material that is restrictive to movement. By describing her actions as ‘tripping,’ a modern day feminist reader is reinforced that she is not coping in her current lifestyle where she is limited to living in a strict manner. In the next stanza, she says that “underneath (her) stiffened gown/ Is the softness of a woman” (lines 32 and 33.) This develops the idea that the way she dresses is a deceiving appearance, because she is not as stiff and stable on the inside as she comes across on the outside. Deep down she is soft and sad, in mourning of the loss of her lover, yet she cannot express these emotions due to the expectations and restrictions of women during the Victorian era.
Essay on Analysis of Lowell's Poem, Patterns
1184 Words5 Pages
“Patterns,” Amy Lowell explores the hopeful of women in the early 20th century through a central theme. A woman’s dream of escaping the boundaries that society has placed on her dissipates when she learns of her lover’s untimely death. She also expresses her emotions and what she truly feels. She mustn’t show any form of feeling, so she feels as if there is “not softness anywhere” about her. Confined by “whalebone and brocade,” the speaker continues to live up to the expectations society enforces upon her. The speaker also uses many images in this poem, the constant motions of the flowers and water drops, the dress the woman is wearing, and her daydreams of her lover are most crucial in developing this theme of freedom.
In the beginning…show more content…
While she remains “guarded from embrace” by her gown, she contains emotions that she knows she can’t express. Doing so would brand her improper. The Random House Webster’s College Dictionary gives the definition of brocaded as, "a fabric woven with an elaborate raised design, often using gold or silver thread." This stiff, imprisoning piece of clothing symbolizes the boundaries that society has placed on women during their time. They had to act properly, look nice, and uphold all standards, especially if they were to be courted and married to a respectable man. The description of the train on the woman’s dress also has specific imagery. The woman talks about how, "the train/ Makes a pink and silver stain/ On the gravel," The first image a person gets in their head is one of a train on a dress dragging across the gravel and leaving behind colors of pink and silver. This metaphor, however, has some underlying meaning, and symbolizes the "training" that she received to act properly as a lady. This training leaves behind a blemish, or stain, of high order (pink) and eloquence (silver) that she merely knows how to uphold, and does not want to be a part of her true self. She feels that learning the way the public wants her to act and look has somehow hindered her true being.
Next, the speaker comes to terms with the bestowed values of society and complied only because