A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by Adrienne Rich: Introduction

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by Adrienne Rich is a poem that expresses how the male-made language does not allow the female to fully express her feelings.

Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)

The title of the poem is the same as that of John Donne’s poem, but the speaker here is a female who is saying that she is writing a farewell note (valediction) most probably telling women that they should no longer mourn. In Donne’s poem, the male speaker tells his beloved not to cry, because (he tells in hyperbolic metaphysical conceits) her tears, bearing the image of the whole world will fall to the ground, and thus for him, the whole world will fall; her sighs will also bring cyclones and tides in the ocean…! Here the female speaker says, rather implicitly, at the end of the poem that she will no longer mourn for the domination of the means of expression by males; she will start doing (writing) “something very common, in my own way.” She dealt with issues of language, sexuality, oppression and power that infused all the movements for liberation from male dominated world.

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Sharma, Kedar N. "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by Adrienne Rich: Introduction" BachelorandMaster, 20 Nov. 2013, bachelorandmaster.com/britishandamericanpoetry/a-valediction-forbidding-mourning-introduction.html.