What is the theme, language, and style/structure of "Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry" by Edna St Vincent Millay?What is the theme (insights about life in the modern period), language (imagery, irony, use...

What is the theme, language, and style/structure of "Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry" by Edna St Vincent Millay?

What is the theme (insights about life in the modern period), language (imagery, irony, use of dialogue, symbolism), and style/structure of "Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry" by Edna St Vincent Millay?

Asked on by mlampkin

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booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I am allowed to answer only one of your questions: the parts must each be listed as separate questions.

Edna St. Vincent Millay was a feminist and activist for women's rights during the beginning of the twentieth century. This can easily be seen in her poem.

In terms of the theme, the poem "Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry" is about the cultural and intellectual repression of women. The speaker has obviously tried to have an rational, "educated" conversation with her husband, and he has discredited her ability to handle a discussion of consequence by saying, "What a big book for such a little head!"

The title would indicate that her husband has misspoken, and the wife (the narrator) is highly offended; she promises that she will never again try to engage him in any kind of "scholarly" debate. She will not read in front of him, but will behave herself like men expect their women to act during this time period: she will offer him a kiss, or a look at look at her newest hat. She will love him and be "sweet and soft," but their relationship will not be the same from this moment on.

This wife informs her husband that one day he will knock and enter her room, but she will be gone, and he can just whistle for her, for she will have no time for him.

The theme here is about a woman being a man's equal in terms of "brain function." This was not a popular concept during this era. On one hand, women were a force to be reckoned with in terms of helping the poor, and supporting the church and morals within society and the home. At the same time, they were also trying to earn the right to vote, and it was a long, hard battle. Millay is not only expressing her belief that men and women were equals, but offering words of warning to men who were unable to see this or accept it.

In today's society, these messages will be lost in that opportunities are available to women today that could not have been imagined a hundred years ago. While it is said that women generally only earn seventy percent of what men make for the same job, women are no longer relegated to inferior jobs because of gender, and can seek education and employment just as men do.

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