Gewndolyn Brooks and Anne Sexton both wrote poems about the controversial subject of abortion. Brooks wrote a poem titled “The Mother” which stressed the physiological and ethical consequence of her choice. While in Sextons poem “The Abortion” the focus is more on the emotions felt before and after the actual process of aborting the baby. Yet both poems posses similar use of words to get a point across. The main way the authors did this is through the use of tone. The tone of these poems easily allow the reader to see just how easy it is to know something is wrong, but do it anyway.
In Brooks poem “The Mother” she selects words and expressions that give the poem an air of sadness. By saying things such as “You will never neglect or beat Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.” it shows her longing to do things that mothers are generally thought to be good at. At the same time this also shows she is aware that she has essentially taken life and its experiences away from not only her unborn child but herself as well because she never gets the chance to do the things she speaks of. The title of the poem demonstrates this trough a paradox, she never actually got to be a “Mother” because she aborted her baby. The line in which she states, “you will never end up sucking thumb” reinforces all this as well as demonstrates her use of imagery thought the entire poem.
By creating such vivid images of things she and her child would have done it connects the reader on a more personal level because it gives them a chance to really imagine everything Brooks is saying. Having the connection and the images in their mind while knowing that the baby was aborted makes it all the more real, allowing the reader to feel similar emotions that the mother herself had felt such as sorrow and remorse. The remorseful feeling is really expressed towards the ending of the poem when there is a change in whom she is addressing. Brooks now begins to address the actual child that was aborted and ask for forgiveness while acknowledging she has done wrong by saying “the crime was other than mine”. She also tells the child that she loves them and that “ even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.” showing that she is sorry for what she has done even though she knew what she was getting into when she did it. All of these things together give Brooks poem a remorseful tone that perfectly expresses how someone can so easily do something they know deep down is wrong.
In Sextons poem “The Abortion” the emotions she is feeling are expressed to the reader through the change setting. It begins while she still has the baby inside her and she uses words that make the world sound as though it is full of life such as puckering and puffing. She describes the landscape hilly mountainous and green, which is a color that symbolizes new life. Towards the end of the poem when returning from her abortion the setting is described in a more gloomy empty way. The sky had grown thin and the roads were flat. This shows the change in her emotions, just like the land she used to be full of life as well and afterwards she was empty and flat without a child in her womb. The first line of the poem “ Somebody who should have been born is gone.” is an expression of her feelings on abortion. The statement itself lets the reader know right off the bat that she thinks abortion is wrong, yet she goes along and does it anyway.
She does not even describe the actual process of aborting the baby as badly as one would imagine someone with that view on the subject would have. She makes an allusion to Rumplestilksen saying that the man who performed the abortion for her was nothing like him at all, basically meaning that she didn’t feel the experience was horrible and as though he was forcing her to give up her first born child like Rumplestilksen had done in a fairy tale. The repetition of the first line thought the entire poem expresses the regret she is feeling thought the entire experience of her abortion. She even calls herself a coward at the very end for doing such a thing. But none of that stopped her from getting the abortion done. The tone of regret Sexton set for this poem once again shows that it’s not at all hard to go ahead and do something they you are sure is wrong.
Both of these women were well aware that getting an abortion, in their opinion, was wrong. They each expressed their regret and remorse through the wording of their poems and both poems were quite simple and soothing, something a child would understand. The poems described different aspects of abortion but stress the idea that having an abortion comes with the emotions of sadness, sorrow, and guilt. The reader is easily able to connect to the pome and understand the emotions that are being felt through the imagery used and tone set by the authors. But even with all of that both women still chose to abort their baby. Doing something you know is wrong is something every reader can easily relate to and understand.
Courtney from Study Moose
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