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What is a summary of the poem "The Stone Age?"

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devikareghunath | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 23, 2012 at 10:13 AM via web

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What is a summary of the poem "The Stone Age?"

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 23, 2012 at 12:57 PM (Answer #1)

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Kamala Das' poem, "The Stone Age," is a poem which illustrates the life of an oppressed woman.

Her husband is set in his ways ("Fond husband, ancient settler in the mind"). Although he is fond (affectionate), the speaker believes him to be false ("weaving webs of bewilderment"). The husband has taken control over his wife ("You turn me into a bird of stone"), which refers to the fact that she is beautiful to look at but must not be heard.

The husband is not considerate of his wife's feelings. His "absent-minded" stroking of her face shows no true emotion, only habit. The husband is not concerned with his wife's needs either (noted by the "loud talk you bruise my pre-morning sleep,
You stick a finger into my dreaming eye").

The wife dreams of a better life, only to have the dreams vanish like the sun. Her history, misunderstood given the undefined nature of the Dravidian people (historically they fought to be defined as their own ethnic group) alienates the wife from those who fail to identify with her or identify her at all. Her ethnicity is lost to "secretly flow the drains beneath the sacred cities."

Jumping into her car, the wife searches for others like herself--only to be forgotten like the rain which comes and goes.

The wife does not seem to understand what her husband sees in her. He is a lion, a snake, a symbol of strength and power. She, on the other hand, is not. That said, the wife questions how her husband can rest so easily against her, given her weaknesses.

All said, the wife cannot understand why no one asks her anything about life. The wife seems to understand her knowledge regarding life, but, like her husband's disregard for her, she feels as if her knowledge goes unappreciated.

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