Poem Analysis: The Mother By Gwendolyn Brooks

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Throughout the course of the semester I will be reading and analyzing the poem “The Mother” by Gwendolyn Brooks. The subject of the poem is abortions, and it shows the many conflicts, emotions and decisions that are a part of the processing of a woman aborting her child. The meaning that transcends through this poem, is that a woman can be a mother without fully having a child. Among the many ways a New Critic could analyze this text to explain its meaning, the two most important of them are the contradiction between body and soul, and the tension between actions and desires. As a new critic, we can solely look at the words on the page and how they are written to find understanding. Naming the poem “The Mother”, and then directly after writing…show more content…
When she writes, “If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths”, we see her questioning the beginning of their lives. By “poisoning”, she means that she stopped them from ever breathing and consequently living. A few lines later in the poem, it states “Since anyhow you are dead.Or rather, or instead, you were never made.”. This is an important line to remember, because the entire poem to this point she has convinced herself that they have all been born. Using “or rather, or instead” we see her arguing with herself, believing that she should not feel guilty for she never created a child to begin with. She talks about all the things in their lives that they will not do such as love, work, marry and even die a human death. She feels responsible for their lack of life and thus feels shame. Her mind races back and forth between these two concepts from the first to the last line, but ultimately we can see that she believes that simply because they were at onetime a possibility for her, that she can still identify as a mother. To go further than just the argument of their existence or lack thereof, she also makes many comments as to her true desire for…show more content…
The most obvious line in this poem, that perfectly shows the love and desire she has for her aborted children is “Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate”. This line is the perfect example of a tension within this poem; it is also an example of irony. She is saying that even though she has made the decision to abort her child she still wishes that they were a part of her life. Deliberateness, in addition to meaning intentional, also refers to “long careful consideration” (Mariam-Webster). She is saying in this line that, while she purposefully aborted the child, her time was not quickly spent on the decision to do so. This line summarizes the meaning of the entire poem. For whatever reason or situation that made her decide to abort her child, we know through this line that it was not what she truly

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