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Edna St. Vincent Millay Essay Topics & Paper Examples

I Being Born Women and Distressed

Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sonnet, “I, Being Born a Woman and Distressed,” serves as an excellent example of a multi-faceted piece. From one angle, it is simply a Petrarchan sonnet, written with a slight variation on rhyme scheme – but that variation, taken deeper, reveals new layers of meaning. Added to Millay’s choice of meter and end-stop, along with a background of Millay’s person, this sonnet seems not so “simple” after all. Millay, though she married in 1923, was known to have extramarital affairs, purportedly with both women and men. In the context of this particular sonnet, such seems revealing indeed – for it seems the speaker of the sonnet is involved in some sort of affair. Or perhaps Millay’s…