Student Question

Comment on Kamala Das's style of writing in the poems "The Testing of the Sirens," "The Stone Age," "The Sunshine Cat," and "Winter".

Quick answer:

One could note the fairytale-like style of “The Testing of the Sirens,” or the haiku-like style of “Winter.” Many of Kamala Das's poems share a visceral quality, and readers could discuss the ways in which her poems deal with intimate and deeply painful gender issues.

Expert Answers

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The Testing of the Sirens

You might want to note that this is the longest of the poems that you will be writing about. You could also draw attention to how this poem is written in the style of a story or fairytale. While the speaker might be something like a princess, you could say the man is not much of a prince charming. He explicitly makes it known that he is not “handsome.”

The Stone Age

As with “Sirens,” this poem has a story-like, fable style to it. This poem also centers on a woman involved with a man that is not so appealing. When the husband leaves, the woman rushes off to “another’s door.” You could also point out the poem’s visceral style. It features blood, body parts, and other intimate, inward images.

The Sunshine Cat

As with the first two poems, this poem has a gendered style. It seems to be about a woman’s rather tumultuous relationships with men. This poem, too, has a visceral, emotional style. It touches on deep suffering. The woman seems to be experiencing such pain that she has to “build walls with tears” to deal with it.


You might note that this is the shortest of the poems. It has a haiku-like style. No, it’s not technically a haiku, yet it features the same kind of nature imagery that is often associated with haiku. As with the other poems, “Winter” seems centered on visceral images. The multiple mentions of “roots” suggest a deep, fundamental intimacy.

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