What is the theme of the poem "The Bangle Sellers" by Sarojini Naidu?  

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Kathryn Draney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say the theme of this poem is that there are common steps taken throughout the life of a woman. While I'm not suggesting that every woman must follow these steps, the poem represents three major moments in life that seem to define women. The bangles are used to represent those moments.

The first stanza is an introduction to the idea of the bangles representing the women's stages of life. They establish that the bangles are for "happy daughters and happy wives." This sets up for the rest of the poem, where the stages of lives are described by the colors of the bangles being sold by the bangle sellers to the various women.

The second stanza discusses women in adolescence, or, maidenhood. These women wear bangles of "silver and blue" and the entire section is tinged with nature references as the blooming plants are related to the blooming women.

The third stanza discusses women at the age of marriage.

Some, like the flame of her marriage fire,
Or, rich with the hue of her heart's desire,
Tinkling, luminous, tender, and clear,

These descriptions hone in on passion and tenderness, the qualities of a wife and someday a mother.

The last stanza discusses women who have had children and have families. These bangles are "purple and gold flecked grey." These are rich colors, representative of a woman who is rich in experience with a husband, family, and religion.

Hope this helps!

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sarojini Naidu examines the theme of women's roles in a traditional Indian society throughout the poem "The Bangle Sellers." The seller attempts to persuade customers to purchase various bangles, which are colored differently to symbolize significant moments in a woman's life. The seller provides vivid descriptions that coincide with the color of the various bangles. Silver and blue bangles represent single women, while red-tinted bangles symbolize marriage and a loving relationship. Purple and gold-flecked grey bangles represent older women who have experienced marriage and motherhood. Each bangle symbolizes significant stages in an Indian woman's life, and these women's faithfulness and longevity are celebrated throughout the poem. In the last stanza, Naidu reflects on the ideal life of a traditional Indian woman by commenting on their faithful service to their children, husband, and deities.