Belonging Prescribed text - Emily Dickinson Poems. Areas of study are, by definition, broad. The concept of belonging itself can be elusive because its understanding is dependent on people's perceptions.
Prescribed text - Emily Dickinson Poems
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The extracts from "The Piano” and the Dickinson poem, "I Gave..." promote a sense of ambivalence towards perpetuating the role of BEING a female in the 19th century. BECOMING the archetypal "wife" figure simply by being of a particular age and culture. Then BELONGING to not only a husband but to the powerful traditions and paradigms ingrained in society. In Dickinson's poem, the interior monologue reveals the persona’s reflection on marriage. The mercantile language style suggests a metaphorical analogy of marriage as a cold and emotionless business venture. The cynical attitude towards marriage is expressed as "depreciation" over time. The "hidden cargoes” metaphorically suggests that the union is burdened by hidden flaws. The alliterative "myself a poorer prove” depicts the persona’s lack of power in the marriage which loudly echoes the lack of power that women possess in the patriarchal world in which they belong.
In "The Piano", a similarly cynical attitude to marriage is presented by the wife. Again, the use of interior monologue introduces the private and candid thoughts of the protagonist, revealing insights into her ambivalent and almost depricating attitude to her betrothal. This contrasts significantly to her seemingly cooperative and genial arrival in New Zealand, where the reader hears no interior monologue. Her piano, symbolises her “voice” and suggests the repressive atmosphere she enters as she becomes a wife and belongs to the patriarchal values and nature of marriage. Her muteness becomes an increasingly powerful metaphor for the paradigm of passive feminine submission in marriage. Her Piano clearly symbolises not only the protagonists true love… but also her sense of her true power.
The interior monologue combined with other literary techniques used in both texts evoke powerful ideas about a woman belonging to a husband; from being an independent woman, to becoming a wife, then ultimately belonging to a husband and the traditions of marriage. As each persona reaches that place in which she “belongs” so too she becomes increasingly submissive, passive or "mute".