Girl Powdering Her Neck

by Cathy Song

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Is the season, especially winter, implied in "Girl Powdering Her Neck"?

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Although there are references to winter in the poem, there seems to be a more prevailing and significant motif, that of nature itself. Elements of the natural world outside the girl's room are present in the poem's references to an oyster shell, the buckwheat pillow, seaweed on rocks, pollen, maple leaves, a snowy hill, white birds, a pond in winter, a "plum face," lips stained by berries, chrysanthemums, and a lake. All of these bring vivid imagery into the poem. They also seem to establish a contrast between the natural beauty of the world outside the girl's room and the artificial beauty she creates each day in her mirror. Also implied, perhaps, is the contrast between the wide world beyond her room and the small world within which she lives each day as an object of pleasure.

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