Womens Struggle for Equality

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 28 December 2016

Womens Struggle for Equality

Both Mary Oliver and Lucille Clifton are feminist women who fight for gender equality. By reading their poems the fight for women to be considered equals to men is evident. Both poems “Singapore” and “wishes for sons” were written in 1990-1991. During this time period women were fighting for equal rights in the world. They wanted men to see them as their equal rather than lesser. In “Singapore” Oliver reveals how difficult a woman’s job can be. In “wishes for sons” Clifton shows her strong desire for men to experience the embarrassments and difficulties that women face every day.

In the poem “Singapore” Oliver writes about a woman who walks into a public restroom and finds a lady knelt over a toilet cleaning it. “A woman knelt there, washing something in the white bowl” (Oliver, 1990, line 5). The lady is at first disgusted with what she sees, but then as the lady turns to face her she sees the beauty in her. She realizes that even though this lady has a very disgusting job she is still a human and deserves to be happy. Oliver is showing that despite life’s difficulties women can find the strength to be happy and live a great life.

She wants the reader to know that women can have the most disgusting jobs and still be beautiful on the inside and outside “the light that can shine out of a life” (Oliver, 1990, line 35). In the poem “wishes for sons” Clifton writes about her strong desire for men to experience the difficulties and embarrassments that women face. Clifton expresses her anger about the way women are viewed as the lesser of the two genders. She wants men to experience what women have to face regularly. “I wish them cramps…I wish them a strange town…and the last tampon” (Clifton, 1991, lines 1-3).

She wants men to experience these difficulties in an embarrassing manner. Clifton is writing about all the physical things that women have to face. She desperately wants men to see how difficult it is to be a woman. While it is impossible for a man to actually have to go through these things Clifton wants them to realize what women face and to treat them as equals. Mary Oliver’s poem “Singapore” alluded a lot to nature. “Rivers are pleasant, and of course trees…A waterfall, or if that’s not possible, a fountain rising and falling” (Oliver, 1990, line 10).

The symbols of nature go hand in hand with women’s nature and beauty. Lucille Clifton’s poem “wishes for sons” was a more straightforward approach. She wrote about a woman’s menstrual cycle and how unpleasant it is. Both of these poems hit on the theme of gender equality. In both poems the authors write about a woman’s role in a man’s world, the nature of women, gender equality, and the relationships between a man and a woman. Both of these poems reveal the struggle that women faced when trying to win the battle of equality with men. They fought so hard to show men that they were equal.

During this time period women had rights but not the same rights as men. Women were expected to stay at home and take care of the house. Since they were the ones cleaning at home the type of jobs they could get involved cleaning. Women were not happy with the way they were treated in this time period. Men were the ones who went out and worked in the business world.. These two poems showed the type of hardships that women face. From the type of jobs women were given to the physical things they had to deal with. All women wanted were to be treated as equals of men.

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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 28 December 2016

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