Adrienne Rich, Themes Language

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Adrienne Rich’s poetry is interesting both for its themes and language-use. Discuss. 4

Adrienne Rich’s poetry is interesting both for its themes and language-use. Discuss.

Adrienne Rich is one of the most important and provocative voices in modern literature. Her themes are always relevant and she often challenges us with her ideas on male-female relationships and the role of women in society, for example. While her feminist perspective means her work has an obvious attraction for a female audience, her appeal is not confined to one gender. Her language is generally clear and direct, her images striking and memorable.

An idea Rich often explores is the complex reality of male-female relationships. ‘Living in Sin’ is interesting primarily because of its realistic depiction of male-female relationships. Most people could relate to the experience of the woman, who finds that the reality of living with her partner in a small studio apartment falls short of the romantic dream. In her naivety, she gave no thought to the mundane realities of day-to-day life with her partner. This idea is expressed in everyday language, ‘She had thought the studio would keep itself’.

Inevitably, harsh reality reveals the unglamorous truth of the couple’s living situation: noisy dripping taps, grimy windows, scraps of leftover food and empty bottles. Worst of all, she encounters a beetle among the saucers – the beetle is described in a memorably humorous image as an ‘Envo...

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