Poem Analysis



Theobjective of this essay is analyzing two poems written by AdrienneRich. The poems include “Livingin Sin”and the “Snapshotsof a Daughter-in-law.”Both poems are majoring on advancing feminism and autonomy of marriedwomen. This essay hypothesizes that the artist of the poems is anemotionally shattered woman whose expectations of a fantastic marriedlife has gone sour.

Thepoem “Livingin Sin”implies that the couple is not officially married. In addition, awoman is completely dissatisfied with the relationship as it does notmeet her expectations. For example, she was expecting that her studiowould be exclusively excellent and charming. However, in reality, itis neglected and desperately requires thorough cleaning. When the manreturns at night, the woman feels slightly comfortable although sheis still worried about the following day. On the other hand, the“Snapshotsof a Daughter-in-law”extends the theme of women exploitation as it focuses on multiplephases of a woman’s lifestyle, meted out with male exploitation andsorrows. The daughter-in-law is portrayed as a dependent person withmany factors that may lead to anxiety. The woman experiencesanxieties such as conducting house chores throughout the day andserving her body to her husband at night. In addition, she iscompelled to give up her dreams and freedom, which in turn makes herlifestyle boring.

Inboth poems, the author has used symbolism when describing thesuffering of the woman. The statement, “Byevening she was back in love again,”is a symbol that means that the woman temporary feels comfortable atnight, although she cannot stop worrying about the uncertainties inthe following day. The day is used as a symbol of fear in the poem.Similarly, the author introduces supernatural things in the secondpart of the “Snapshotsof a Daughter-in-law.”The term ‘angel’ symbolizes the woman’s “conscience,` whichmotivates her to pursue her original desires. In addition, herconscience motivates her to fight for the truth, as well as acquirepersonal freedom. In both poems, the woman is portrayed as an objectin bed for satisfying the physical desires of her husband. She cannotthink or act independently since everything she does is directed bysuperstitions and social customs.

Bothpoems are based on the theme of incomplete love. In the “Livingin Sin”the woman had high hopes that she would live happily in her marriage.However, the commitment becomes like a prison, as she has no freedomand capacity for making her own decisions. During the day, thehusband goes away to escape boredom at home. On the other hand, themarried woman cannot attempts avoiding inflicted pain fruitlessly.Despite the fact that the mother-in-law has experienced similarchallenges to the ones the daughter-in-law was suffering, shedeliberately engages in characters that hurt the daughter.

Thewoman in “Livingin Sin”appears dissatisfied because the husband has not formalized therelationship. She expresses her insecurity during the day after herhusband goes away during the day to kill his boredom. However, shefeels peaceful and loved at night after he returns at the evening.The unknown fear may indicate that the woman is afraid that herhusband is engaging in promiscuous behavior the time he is away fromhome. Besides, the cohabiting relationship makes her feel insecureand worried about her future. In “Snapshotsof a Daughter-in-law”the married woman is still unsatisfied, oppressed, and denied herbasic rights to live her dream. Her mother-in-law deliberately deniesher authority and space for reasoning independently. In a nutshell,the woman’s expectations in both poems are betrayed since themother-in-law should understand her daughter-in-law better as she hasexperienced similar challenges. Similarly, woman “Livingin sin”does not enjoy the marriage bliss common with a couple planning toformalize their relationship.

Insummary, the author in “Livingin Sin”and the “Snapshotsof a Daughter-in-law”represents a disgruntled woman. She is unsecure and oppressed in byculture and superstitions. The author defies the odds of theoppressive regime and advocates for the women to renounce theoppression through seeking independence and pursuing their originaldreams.