What does Kamala Das convey in "An Introduction" with the lines "The weight of my breasts and womb crushed me. / I shrank Pitifully"?

Quick answer:

These lines from Kamala Das's poem "An Introduction" express Das's inability to bear the responsibilities of her womanhood after her first sexual encounter. She is not mature enough to handle her new roles, so she retreats from them.

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In the poem “An Introduction,” Kamala Das essentially introduces herself to her readers. She begins by talking about languages and how she chooses to use English as well as the other two languages she knows in which to express herself. They are all hers, she says; none of them are foreign. They all help her create meaning.

Das then moves on to allude to her childhood and adolescence. She grows and matures and accepts love, a marriage, when she is only sixteen. This is expected, and she does not know anything else to ask for. Her first sexual encounter, however, traumatizes her. She is not yet ready to accept the fullness of womanhood. While her husband does not beat her, she feels as though she has been beaten. “The weight of my breasts and womb crushed me,” she explains. She cannot bear the responsibility that comes with womanhood and marriage. She is mature physically but not emotionally, and she shrinks back “pitifully” from further encounters. She seems to want to return to her childhood, to escape being a woman.

Therefore, Das retreats from her womanhood. She cuts her hair and wears men's clothing. She wants to ignore the fact that she is a woman. On all sides, she hears people tell her to embrace her womanhood, to dress and act like a woman and not a man, to stop pretending. Yet it is not time; she is not ready.

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