Rewriting History:Adrienne Rich (2)

Lipika Das

In 1953, she married Alfred Conrad, an economics professor at Harvard University. She had three children with him, but their relationship began to fray in the 1960’s as Rich became politically aware—she later stated that “the experience of motherhood was eventually to radicalize me.” Rich’s works of the 1960’s and ’70s began to show the signs of that radicalization. Rich’s rebellion against tradition is more powerful for coming late. Rich refuges to blame men or history completely for the suppression of women. From the beginning, in poetry as well as prose, Adrienne Rich has taken up the questions posed of patriarchy. In opposition to patriarchal society, Rich attempts to imagine a woman identified one. Those who exist in biologically female bodies in a world where only male one are considered “human” must daily deny the most basic facts about their experience. In her poem “Living in Sin”, she talks about a couple in a domestic environment who has come together to pursue a union, which is untrammeled by the constraints of Orthodox family life. The woman, however soon discovers that being in love carried responsibilities that made unequal demands on her because she was woman, while her partner relies on an assumed set of social norms that approve of his indulgence at her expense. As lovers the couple are apparently driven by affection for one another; yet the perspectives with which both of them view things in the relationship are widely varied. For the woman it translates into the assumption of responsibilities considered to be naturally hers because of her gender status ; her partner, on the other hand, takes his companion’s response as a part of the equation. In this poem, the woman is consistently interrupted by the pressures of a domestic routine that doesn’t pressurise her partner at all. So, as like as patriarchy here we can see the hidden question of woman’s identity which is suppressed under her day to day duties.
(To be Continued)

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