Conte Poem Analysis Essay

1006 Words Feb 8th, 2013 5 Pages
Lenae Gomez
ENG 110.3
Professor Unger
February 11, 2013
Au Contraire In “Conte” by Marilyn Hacker, Cinderella shows the reader a glimpse of her life after the childhood tale ends, a less happier ending than the original story implies. She feels trapped in a constant state of misery and boredom in the royal palace. Without life experience guiding her, Cinderella is in a dilemma caused by her ignorance of the potential consequences of her actions. With the use of irony, structure, and diction, “Conte” shows how innocence and naïveté result in regrettable mistakes that create life experience. The poem deviates from the basic fairy tale through the use of ironic predicaments. Cinderella makes a bold statement from the beginning:
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The poem is in free verse with no meter and consists of twenty-eight lines in one big stanza. The poem has all the elements of a letter with the most conclusive evidence being at the end of the poem: “Yours, C” (28). A letter is a personal form of writing and gives the reader an inside perspective into Cinderella’s palace life. Most of the sentences are declarative sentences, making the exceptions more obvious in the poem. One of the exceptions is found on lines 17 and 18, where the sentence ends in an exclamation point: “Why not throw it all up, live on the coast / and fish, no, no, impossible with wives!” The exclamation point emphasizes the idea that she feels trapped in her situation as a wife. She wants to find a way out of her misery. On lines 20 and 21 there is a question mark on each line: “or cut my hair, teach (what?) little girls / and live at home with you?” Cinderella reiterates that her options are limited because of her minimal experience in the world. “Conte” uses a couple parentheses within mid-sentence. Cinderella uses the parentheses to convey deeper explanation of her thoughts. For example, Cinderella writes, “Ladies / ignore me, or tell me all their petty secrets / (petty because they can’t attend meetings) / about this man or that” (4-7). She does not censor her meaning of petty. Her true feelings show in the letter and validate the rough situation that Cinderella is stuck in. At the end, Cinderella asks her
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