Provide a critical appreciation of Eunice De Souza's poem "Bequest."

A critical appreciation of Eunice De Souza's poem "Bequest" should include how the author uses literary devices and structure to accomplish her goals. Most notable in this particular poem are the sacrificial expectations of women which create conflicting responses in the speaker.

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In a critical appreciation of "Bequest," you could focus on the role of women as it is presented in the poem and how Souza utilizes literary devices and form to accomplish that purpose.

Souza was raised Catholic, and she alludes to Christlike sacrifice from the opening lines of the poem. Christ offered his blood to redeem humanity, and the image of a heart is an example of metonomy; the heart comes to represent both the blood of Christ and His ultimate sacrifice.

The roles women are expected to fill are conflicting. At some times, they are expected to adhere to "stern standards," which is a theme that runs throughout Souza's poetry. At other times, they are expected to simply take life as it comes; interestingly, this advice is given to the speaker via her hairdresser. The irony of a male giving this advice to a woman is noted in her tone, captured in the interjection "of course." Of course a man wants her to simply "take" the life she is given—and which, ostensibly, males have constructed for her.

The form of the poem adheres to no specific meter or rhyme. In fact, it follows a confessional tone as the speaker presents her wishes to her audience. She wishes she could be a Wise Woman, personified. She wishes she could simply be vacuous and mindless, the plastic flower a simile which connotes both an unchanging beauty and a cheap representation of a more natural flower.

In the end, your critical appreciation should include your own determination of how well these structures and literary devices accomplish the purpose the poet has set out to accomplish.

I hope this helps get you started on your own evaluation. Good luck!

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