The human mind is in a constant state of flux. More so, a woman’s. Blanche Farley’s The Lover not Taken, beautifully captures the vacillating moods of a woman in and out love, and lends a very daring outrageous image of a woman’s mind. ‘The lover not taken’, in the life of the woman in Farley’s poem would be the significant choice made in a woman’s life – one that decides her character, her destiny. In this, it is as significant as ‘The Road not Taken’. The poem is a beautiful play of comparison and contrast of thought and feeling, of idealism versus realism, the heart and the mind.
All alone, Farley’s Madame Bovary waits in time, left to herself. The woman, already bound and claimed in marriage, caught in turmoil, stands pondering at the crossroads, on the verge of giving in to the charms of her new-found suave lover’s lovely hair and smile Unhappy in a marriage, a woman’s heart is unchained, still seeking love. Having found it, the temptation to infidelity looms large. Yet the sensitive niche, in which a woman places herself, prevents her from giving herself freely away to her feelings.
Her hating to face the sensitive situation, wishing not to displease her husband nor her lover, yet poignantly wanting to have the cake and eat it, – the vagaries of a woman are picturesquely portrayed. Mulling and wanting, weighing the outcomes of each decision, it is not until the last two lines of the poem, that the mood of the protagonist is actually decided. It appears as if she were her own judge, laying before herself the facts and reasons over which of the two men she would choose and why, and how.
Structurally, every line of the poem ends in a pause, a change of mood, a dilemma. The end of every line assumes the consequence of its own course. Are the smiles of her charming lover more endearing than solemn promises of her husband, which he wears in his wedding ring? Guilt-ridden, she does admit her husband is indeed true to her. Yet, what of her love? Awaiting a twist of destiny, expecting a ‘way leading on to a way’, she hopes to find happiness in her love. Hoping for her love to receive her some day, well knowing the grave consequences of adultery, she heaves a sigh of lament.
The irresolute, hesitant nature of thought is reflected through the juxtaposition of words like ‘mulling’ and ‘wanting’. Her desire is more for, her lover’s ‘smile’ than her husband’s ‘claim’. She imagines if her blonde lover ‘dropped by some day’, she wonders in fear if her husband, having known about her affair, ‘would ever come back’. Her need to stay in a marriage is very strong, when she tries to think ahead in time, several years away, when she would be recounting her tale to someone, and rejoice at how loyal a wife she had remained.
It is only the security of a marriage and a home, which can subconsciously provide her such a stable thought. How finally primordial instincts win over moral values is captured as a conclusion to the poem. Unable to give up either her marriage or love, the woman decides to play it safe, both in love and marriage. It is very ironical that the poem begins with the word ‘committed’. Is the woman really committed to the one who has a claim on her?
The frail-minded woman torn between her lover and husband becomes ready to turn into an unconscionable adulteress towards the end of the poem! To reach home and call the lover marks the culmination of this complete turnabout. To enjoy both the comfort of home and the heart, is a secret she alone would know and unflinchingly cherish! Throughout the poem, there is a heavy sense of remorse and regret, and perennial guilt. She finds no peace with any of her feelings. Works Cited “Road Not Taken: Analysis”. 19 May 2010. MegaEssays. com <http://www. megaessays. com/viewpaper/474. html>.