Adrienne Rich was very much the product of her times. In 1951, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Radcliffe College. In the same year, with the encouragement and guidance of noted literary figure W. H. Auden, she published her first collection of poems, A Change of World. As Auden observed in a patronizing foreword, “The poems a reader will encounter in this book are neatly and modestly dressed, speak quietly but do not mumble, respect their elders but are not cowed by them, and do not tell fibs.”
Rich’s early poetry is markedly different from her later works. She feels that in the beginning she was writing for men, particularly her father, which could explain the orderliness noted by Auden. It was only later, during the frustration of trying to fulfill the obligations of wife (she married in 1953) and mother (by the time she was twenty-nine, she had three sons) that her poetry began to reflect her rage and she began to express her true feelings.
Though not a man-hater by any means, Rich does present, claim many critics, a biased account of the power structure and who is to blame for the subjugation of women. She recognizes that, at times, women are their own worst enemies but does not fault them for their suspicions of or aversions to radical feminism, seeing them as victims of their social environment. Her central contention is that all women everywhere are socialized, victimized, and indoctrinated. Her arguments to support...
(The entire section is 948 words.)
Show us the love and view this for free! Use the facebook like button, or any other share button on this page, and get this content free!free!
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of On Lies, Secrets, and Silence Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!