Analysis Of Marks By Linda Pastan

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Throughout the ages, women have been graded on their performance and instructed on what is supposed to be their purpose. In the poem, “Marks,” by Linda Pastan, the speaker expresses her distaste for being graded on how she performs her “womanly” tasks. Likewise, in the poem, “Women,” by May Swenson, the speaker seems to be comprised of a contingent of people from the time the poem was written – around 1978 – likewise, the speaker of “Marks” is a wife and mother of two children – a boy and a girl. The poem, “Women,” details how the people of the time feel about women and who they should “serve.” Since both poems seemingly depict the purpose of women, the poem “Marks” could be incorporated into the class discussion to show conflicting perspectives between women and the public about the treatment of women. In her poem, “Marks,” Pastan attempts to demonstrate her disapproval of the idea of being a “student.” Throughout the poem, Pastan uses the extended metaphor of being graded by her family as a way to show how women are forced to live as servants. Pastan communicates her aversion with a sarcastic tone that makes the reader slightly uncomfortable. Her words are sharp and concise while her last statement, “. . .. Wait ‘til they learn / I’m dropping out,” is startling and causes the reader to be shocked (line 11 – 12). Obviously, Pastan has no intention of leaving her family; rather, she loves them but wishes they would stop grading her on her chores. By making her poem harsh

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