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Comparing Women in Lowell’s Patterns and Sorrell’s From a Correct Address

The Struggle of Women in Lowell’s Patterns and Sorrell’s From a Correct Address

“Woman is not born,” feminist Andrea Dworkin wrote. “She is made. In the making, her humanity is destroyed. She becomes symbol of this, symbol of that: mother of the earth, slut of the universe; but she never becomes herself because it is forbidden for her to do so.” Dworkin’s quote relates to women throughout history who have been forced to conform. Although women can be regarded highly in society, representing images of fertility, security, and beauty, many people still view them in stereotypical ways; some people believe that all women should act a certain way, never letting their true selves shine through. Amy Lowell’s “Patterns” and Helen Sorrell’s “From a Correct Address in a Suburb of a Major City” accurately portray the struggles of women in relation to conformity. Through contrasting descriptive details, symbols, and language, the authors depict the plights of two remarkably similar women who wish they could break free of their social confinements as women.

In both poems, certain details of the characters’ lives give the reader an impression that the women live pleasant, well-to-do lives, while others give an idea that the women are suffering; this contrast helps to depict the confusion and inner struggles the women are facing. Although they live lives of riches and glamour, they long for something that surpasses the material aspects of life, allowing them to experience freedom from their many social confinements as women. Lowell writes many details in “Patterns” that lead the reader to believe the woman described is upper class:

As I wander down

The garden-paths.

My dress is richly figured

. . . Just the pla…

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…ther they express the realistic conflict there is between the two. Outwardly, the characters conform, but, inwardly, they long to be free. In real life, most people do not sway to a definite side or another on the issue of conformity and rebellion, but rather, as these characters do, experience a complex inward struggle and conflict with the ideas.

Works Cited

Lowell, Amy. “Patterns.” Literature: The Human Experience. Ed. Richard Abcarian and Marvin Klotz. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996. 291-293.

Sorrells, Helen. “From a Correct Address in a Suburb of a Major City.” Literature: TheHuman Experience. Ed. Richard Abcarian and Marvin Klotz. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996. 301-302.

Quotes by Author: Andrea Dworkin. 5 Apr. 2000. Cyber Nation International .

Strength of Character in No Rainbows, No Roses

Strength of Character in No Rainbows, No Roses

Every man is born with either a silver spoon in his mouth or a shovel in his hand. If the former is the case, that individual can look forward to a life of relative ease and privilege. If it is the latter, however, the person had best prepare himself to dig through the pile of misfortune life is going to heap upon him. This is the balance of life–that for every man born under a shining sun, there is at least one born under ominous gray thunderclouds. Those individuals who have a natural inclination towards hard times do have a certain advantage, however, over those who always seem to have it easy. True adversity gives birth to a strength of character that those who avoid it can never hope to attain, understand, or even recognize.

The most beautiful aspect of this strength of character is that it enables the precious few who possess it to look beyond the hazy curtain of their suffering and reach out to those around them, touching them with something that cannot be defined and will not be forgotten. Perhaps the reason that bad things always seem to happen to good people is that without a foundation of “goodness,” this strength of character could not exist and all suffering would be in vain.

This stirring strength can be seen in Beverly Dipo’s essay, “No Rainbows, No Roses.” Dipo, a nurse, relates her experience of being touched by the strength of a dying woman. This woman, Mrs. Trane, was at the end of her long battle with cancer. Dipo had never seen Mrs. Trane before, but when she entered her patient’s room, all her previous medical experience told her she was about to witness Mrs. Trane’s last night. Gathering the sterile comfort of this medical knowledge around her, Dipo began her usual ministrations, trying to make her patient as comfortable as possible. Touched by the weakness and fragility of her patient, Dipo pulled a chair up and sat by Mrs. Trane’s side. She was bothered by the absence of the dying woman’s family until Mrs. Trane weakly stated, “I . . . sent . . . my . . . family . . . home . . . tonight . . . didn’t want . . . them . . . to .

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