What is a line-by-line analysis of the poem “Muliebrity” by Sujata Bhatt?

An analysis of Sujata Bhatt's poem “Muliebrity” should include a discussion of the speaker and the main character, the poem's structure, the vivid sensory details the poet uses to describe the scene, and the poem's meaning.

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To write a line-by-line analysis of “Muliebrity” by Sujata Bhatt, you will have to consider a number elements. Let's look at a few these to get you started on this assignment. You will want to talk about both the poem's speaker and main character. The speaker is the primary observer...

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To write a line-by-line analysis of “Muliebrity” by Sujata Bhatt, you will have to consider a number elements. Let's look at a few these to get you started on this assignment. You will want to talk about both the poem's speaker and main character. The speaker is the primary observer who narrates in the first person as she thinks back about how she used to watch the main character, a girl collecting cow-dung. The girl is engaged in a daily activity that isn't a very pleasant one, but she becomes the object of the speaker's meditation because she is so intent upon and absorbed in her task.

You will also want to talk about the poem's structure. This poem is written in free verse, so it lacks any consistent rhythm or rhyme scheme. It is more like a prose reflection written in poetic lines. Think about how this allows the speaker to express ideas freely yet creatively.

This poem is filled with vivid sensory details, even though the poet uses simple, straightforward language. Lines 3 and 4 provide the setting—the main road in a particular place—but this mundane setting comes alive with the speaker's description of sights and smells. Notice how meticulously the speaker identifies each of the smells. We can almost catch of whiff of them as we read. Notice, too, how the speaker says that those smells are “surrounding me separately / and simultaneously” (lines 11–12). Each is distinct, yet they blend together to create the whole effect.

The poem's meaning expands in its last lines as the speaker says that she has been unwilling to use the girl as a metaphor or image, yet she cannot get the girl out of her mind. She does not want to relegate the girl to a mere poetic device, so she composes an entire poem about her alone. She focuses on the girl's power and greatness “glistening through her cheekbones” as she goes about her duty and finds a “particularly promising / mound of dung” (lines 17–18). We would not usually associate power and greatness with cow dung, but that is the point of this poem. The girl throws herself fully into whatever she is doing, allowing herself to live life to the fullest even in the midst of her dirty task.

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