A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by Adrienne Rich: Syntactic Interpretation

The poem is full of incomplete sentences and phrases which mean obstructed mind and articulation. Rich has frequently used periods mark and dramatic pause so as to convey her failure of expression of pain and anxiety.

Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)

The grammar which is male dominated is insufficient for women to openly show and write about her experiences of being a woman. The persona utters a phrase and a sentence which reveals her all expression as metaphors. The male grammar and diction are empty as they do not bear any emotional weight of the woman. She has here unhesitatingly used some images which define women’s sorrows and conditions. The images are: hair, glacier and flashlight which she complains have remained undefined by the man. Rich uses a style of dramatic monologue where the speaker is addressing someone. Some salient features of postmodern literature are noticed in this poem.

The techniques of minimalism and fragmentation have become her main tools to show her inability of expression. With few power words and phrases she has successfully delivered her message through the poem. Though the poem is composed in free verse, it exhibits a certain amenity of rhythm, which further intensified by frequent and immediate periods.

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