In Dorothy Livesay's poem "Bartok and the Geranium", where are the themes of feminism?

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hannahhunt09 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This poem by Canadian poet Dorothy Livesay can be read as a commentary on the dynamics between the male and the female. Without context, the reader only has the unnamed "he" and "she" of the poem. Where He "whirls / explodes in space" and is "never content with this small room," She is accepting, the "essence of serenity." In the poem they "together breathe and be" for a short time before He disappears. In the beginning and end of the poem, the reader experiences Her as an entity confined to and content with her own space, accepting of whatever happens. At first glance this might appear to be advancing the view that women just let things happen and don't try to make any changes or reach higher. A feminist lens, however, might help us read this instead as the idea that females tend to find happiness in their surroundings, to reach for satisfaction and enjoyment in their environment, while men are something like a destructive, whirling tornado, which, failing to get what it wants, then leaves.

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