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Regarding Nikki Giovanni's poem "Woman", What is the tone and situation of "it was...

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michelledew | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 22, 2009 at 9:50 PM via web

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Regarding Nikki Giovanni's poem "Woman", What is the tone and situation of "it was all/right"?

Is she reconciled to what ever her situation is?

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James Kelley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted November 23, 2009 at 7:03 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that, yes, the speaker in Nikki Giovanni's poem "Woman" is reconciled to her situation at the end of the poem. The poem, as I read it, is all about one person (the speaker, a woman) wanting to change. The first two of these changes are introduced by the phrase "she wanted to be..." The desires for change that follow aren't introduced by that phrase, but it's clear that the thought of change is continued throughout the poem.

Each of her attempts at change fails because she wants her male partner to change with her -- not to become the same thing, but something connected to what she wants to become. For example, in stanza two,

she wanted to be a robin singing
through the leaves
but he refused to be
her tree

Each failure is introduced by the word "but" until the last failure, which breaks the pattern with "and though he still refused..."

I think that the speaker, too, has broken a pattern in her mind as well. She can change, be what she wants, even if her partner isn't all ready to change with her.

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