02 February 2014
Gender Roles of Women in Twentieth Century Literature
The poem “Daystar” by Rita Dove is about a woman who is a busy mother that is tired of the burdensome duties of motherhood, because it makes her feel confined to her situation in life. Alternatively, the poem “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy is a satirical poem that is about a girl who is intelligent and physically capable, but the characteristic that society places value on is her physical appearance. The poems “Daystar” and “Barbie Doll” are both representative of the gender roles and expectations of women in the twentieth century, the time that these poems were published, to be mothers and housewives and achieve a certain standard of beauty.
In the poem “Daystar,” the main focus is the expectation of women to fulfill their role in society by becoming wives and mothers, which can lead to feelings of emptiness and resignation due to being exhausted and stuck. In the lines, “She wanted a little room for thinking/ but she saw diapers steaming on the line/ a doll slumped behind the door” (lines 1-3), the poet is talking about how the woman is tired of her duties of being a mother and would enjoy space to herself, because being a mother is not all that she is. The lines, “She stared until she was assured/ when she closed her eyes/ she’d see only her own vivid blood” (lines 11-14) show the author is using a vivid description to show how the main character longs for time in her day away from her job of being a mother. The poem shows that because society expected women to become mothers and housewives in the twentieth century, women felt that it was their place in life and often felt confined to it. In an article written by Julia Klein about feminism, it is stated:
The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the...