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I am writing about a poem called ‘I Am Not That Woman’ which was written by an Asian poet called Kishwar Naheed. The poem is about how cruelly women were treated by men in the past and how they have become nowadays. It is time for them to ‘flower free’. Women are expressed as really special in the poem. The poem shows that men do not realize the true identity of women. They regard them as something to trade with or use them for their house work. They do not know that in a way women are much better then men as the poet clearly highlights ‘my voice cannot be smothered by stones’. The poem shows that it does not matter how much men try to torture or hide the women the women will never loose their beauty, their ‘motherhood’ and their ‘loyalty’ because they are more special than men.
The poem is mainly targeted at the fathers and the husbands because in the past and even in the present many Asians think of their daughters as a burden and want to get rid of them as soon as possible. The poet clearly mentions this in the first two lines of the fourth stanza ‘I am the one you married off to get rid of a burden’. This shows that even fathers are cruel to their daughters. Naheed then further on says to the fathers ‘not knowing that a nation of captive minds cannot be free’. This could mean that the Asian men only think about confining their women to the house and never think about letting them free. The verse could also mean that the father’s mind stays captive if he forces his daughter to marry someone. Basically he stays in depression or tension; he does not get his peace of mind by forcing his daughter to marry someone.
The repetition of the word chastity shows that the woman believes in virginity. She is modest and is not like the woman on the posters ‘half naked’ and she emphasizes that by saying at the end ‘No, no, I am not that woman’. The end line shows that although Naheed believes in freedom she does not believe in woman being used for advertisements. She thinks that women are meant to be mothers and not some business advertisers. They are supposed to be loyal to their husbands and free from all outside marriage sexual acts as it is mentioned in the last stanza ‘…my chastity, my motherhood, my loyalty’.
We learn from the poem that husbands were really cruel to their wives. They believed in confining their wives to their kitchens because they thought that that was the right place for the women. The men believed that the men should ‘roam free as the breeze’ whilst the women ‘hid in walls of stone’. They did not ever think that woman had the right to live a life outside their house and the men would ignore them if they ever argued for freedom.
The men believed that their traditions were everything. They had to follow their customs or else they would be regarded as really bad in the society. The poet shows the woman point of view about that idea ‘…crushed with the weight of custom and tradition…’ this shows that the woman were crushed or in other words ignored when they told their husbands that they wanted freedom. The women had no right to speak against the traditions of their husband’s. The poet further on says to the husbands ‘not knowing light cannot be hidden in darkness’ which shows that even after all the cruelty the woman went through she still knew that the women are something very special. They are not affected by the torture and the ignorance of some men.
The word ‘I am’ is repeated at the beginning of every stanza which could mean that the poet is trying to emphasize to the men that she is the one that they had tortured. She is the one that they had hid in their walls of stone but know she has become free. She is free from the captive of the men that had tortured her and they can do nothing about it now. She is trying to make them realize that they cannot abuse someone for too long. One day they would become free and they would fight for their justice whilst the tortures would just watch and be surprised.
I think that the poem is very well presented and it gives a very clear image about how cruel the men were to the women in the past. They had no respect for them. They would just trade them for their chastity not knowing that women were supposed to be respected and honoured. The poem shows to us that women can fight for themselves as well but they don’t because they want to be loyal to their husbands. The poem does not have a proper rhyming scheme but it does have a few rhyming words in some of the stanzas. It has a steady rhythm all the way through and the poem is written in simple language. This lets the poet express her message clearly and fully to the people.