Saturday, 8 September 2012


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Analyzing Poetry


Anne Sexton (18 � 174)


You always read about it

the plumber with twelve children

who wins the Irish Sweepstakes

from toilets to riches.

That story.

In this first paragraph the author is beginning to write his poem with the sentence “You always read about it” what give us a precipitated impression of the poem, we know he is going to write about something familiar to everybody.

Or the nursemaid,

some luscious sweet from Denmark

who captures the oldest son’s heart.

From diapers to Dior.

That Story. While I am reading the poem, I realized that the author is giving some examples of how some storie’s situations can be really ironic.

Or a milkman who serves the wealthy,

eggs, cream, butter, yogurt, milk,

the white truck like an ambulance

who goes into real estate

and makes a pile.

From homogenized to martinis at lunch.

With sentences like “From homogenized to martinis at lunch” “From Diapers to Dior” “From toilets to riches” the author is comparing different happy-ending stories that because the irony of the situations, we know they do not usually happen in every day life.

Or the charwoman

who is on the bus when it cracks up

and collects enough from the insurance.

From mops to Bonwit Teller

That Story.

At the end of each example of a story, at the end of each paragraph the author writes “That story” he is trying to make us understand the point he is ready to talk about, he is trying to tell us there are many happy-ending stories like this one and that one and I am going to talk to you about another one. (which we know is a folk story )


the wife of a rich man was on her deathbed

and she said to her daughter Cinderella

Be devout. Be good. Then I will smile

down from heaven in the seam of a cloud.

The man took another wife who had

two daughters, pretty enough

but with hearts like blackjacks.

Cinderella was their maid.

She slept on the sooty hearth each night

and walked around looking like Al Jolson.

Her father brought presents home from town,

jewels and gowns for the other woman

but a twig of a tree for Cinderella.

She planted that twig on her mother’s grave

and it grew to a three where a white dove sat.

Whenever she whished for anything the dove

would drop it like an egg upon the ground.

The bird is important, my dears, so heed him.

Like any of the other stories that the author wrote about, this story is about an unfortunate girl who lost her mother and her father married another woman who had two daughters and the stepmother along with her daughters did not treat her good at all.” Two daughters, pretty enough but with hearts like blackjacks” “Cinderella was their maid…”

The dove on the author’s redaction is a symbol in this story. The dove represents Cinderella’s hope. The dove was her only friend, her only refuge, the only thing that treat her good and the dove was in her mother’s grave on a three that was a gift from her father… so being with the dove was like being with her people, with her dead mother and her father.

Next came the ball, as you all know.

It was a marriage market.

The prince was looking for a wife.

All but Cinderella were preparing

and gussying up for the big event.

Cinderella begged to go too.

Her stepmother threw a dish of lentils

into the cinders and said Pick them

up in an hour and you shall go.

The white dove brought all his friends;

all the warm wings of the fatherland came,

and picked up the lentils in a jiffy.

No, Cinderella, said the stepmother,

you have no clothes and cannot dance.

That’s the way with stepmothers.

I would say that after the author of this poem made the introduction of the story he started to make fun of the ironies that the story of Cinderella has. For example in his phrase “Next came the ball, as you know. It was a marriage market” He makes us think that we share the same thinking of irony about the story, which we do! We all know the story is just a children’s story and therefore contains a lot of situations that make no sense in true life.

Besides that, the author continues redacting the story; about how Cinderella wanted to go to the dance and how her stepmother did everything she could to keep her at home.

Cinderella went to the three at the grave

and cried forth like a gospel singer

Mama! Mama! My turtledove,

send me to the prince’s ball!

The bird dropped down a golden dress

and delicate little gold slippers.

Rather a large package for a simple bird.

So she went, which is no surprise.

Her stepmother and sisters didn’t

recognize her without her cinder face

and the prince took her hand on the spot

and danced with no other the whole day.

Here, when the dove helped Cinderella to go to the ball by appearing a dress and a pair of slippers, once again while redacting the story, the author found irony in the context and also was sarcastic about that aspect “So she went, which is no surprise”

As nightfall came she thought she’d better

get home. The prince walked her home

and she disappeared into the pigeon house

and although the prince took and axe and broke

it open she was gone. Back to her cinders.

These events repeated themselves for three days.

However on the third day the prince

covered the palace steps with cobbler’s wax

and Cinderella’s gold shoe stuck upon it.

The author keeps writing the story, Cinderella and the prince danced all the event but when the time came to go home, the prince knew Cinderella was going to ran away so he covered the palace with wax so at the end, when she ran home, the only thing that the prince had in his possession from her was a slipper. “…on the third day the prince covered the palace with cobbler’s wax and Cinderella’s gold shoe stuck upon it”

Now he would find whom the shoe fit

and find his strange dancing girl for keeps.

He went to their house and the two sisters

were delighted because they had lovely feet.

They eldest went into a room to try the slipper on

but her big toe got in the way so she simply

sliced it off and put on the slipper.

The prince rode away with her until the white dove

told him to look at the blood pouring forth.

That is the way for amputations.

They don’t just heal up like a wish.

The other sister cut off her heel

but the blood told as blood will.

The prince was getting tired.

He had begun to feel like a shoes salesman.

But he gave it one last try.

This time Cinderella fit into the shoe

like a love letter into its envelope.

The prince started to look for the woman who would fit in that shoe. The evil sisters were trying hard to fit in the shoe and kept the prince, “They eldest went into a room to try the slipper on but her big toe got in the way so she simply sliced it off and put on the slipper”

The dove, which was Cinderella protector, told the prince that that slipper did not belong to the eldest sister. Another reason to believe that the dove was a symbol in the story; the dove was Cinderella’s saver, protector and hope.

The sisters kept trying to fit on the slipper, but evilness could never win and some way or another, the price noticed that they were not the ones.

When the prince was about getting tired and was about to surrender, Cinderella fit on the slipper.

At the wedding ceremony

the two sisters came to curry favor

and the white dove pecked their eyes out.

Two hollow spots were left

like soup spoons.

After Cinderella fit in the slipper they got married and her sisters were now being nice with her, but the dove took care of justice and did not let that happen. “...the two sisters came to curry favor and the white dove pecked their eyes out”

Cinderella and the prince

lived, they say, happily ever after,

like two dolls in a museum case

never bothered by diapers or dust

never arguing over the timing of and egg,

never telling the same story twice,

never getting a middle-aged spread,

their darling smiles pasted on for eternity.

Regular Bobbsey Twins.

That Story.

In this final part of the poem, the author compares situations like the ones he told at the beginning of the poem with stories like Cinderella which are product of man’s imagination.

I think that while the author redacts the poem, his point is to make fun of the irony of some stories, the way happy-ending stories are almost impossible to exist, so impossible that he compares them with a children’s tale, an invention of man, a story were a dove can appear things and a prince can marry a maid.

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