Essay Gretel by Andrea Budy Analysis

927 Words Feb 12th, 2014 4 Pages
“A woman is born to this: sift, measure, mix, roll thin.” These starting words of the poem Gretel by Andrea Hollander Budy already show the imprisonment of women within a certain standard set by society. These words basically tell us that a woman has no choice on which path to take in her life because she is already born to something. This idea of women, along with prostitution, is what is being shown in the poem. Gretel, though modified, from the children’s tale Hansel and Gretel serves as the exemplary figure. This poem shows ideas about prostitution, and how women will always be caged in the standards set upon them no matter how hard they try to escape. The she in the poem refers to Gretel, but older than her character in the …show more content…
She was witty enough to outsmart the witch, save them both, look for a way to cross the river, and find their way back to their father’s home. This characteristic of Gretel from the original story is what motivated her to become what she is in Andrea Budy’s poem. With the same wit and capabilities, she tried to escape from living in a certain standard set upon her.
The poem can also show ideas about prostitution. This is evident in the lines “she learns the dough until it folds into her skin”, “she empties her dark pockets, dropping enough crumbs to feed all the men who have ever touched her or wished”, and “remember something of his touch”. This can mean that the “crumbs” or “dough” talks about her flesh/body because in the line “she learns the dough until it folds into her skin and there is no difference”, it tells the reader that there is eventually no difference between the dough and her skin. But she also tries to lose the idea of being a prostitute, but without success, as evident in the line “Much later she tries to lose it. Makes bets with herself and wins enough without trying”. Her trying to lose herself as a prostitute is also figuratively portrayed when she was “emptying her dark pockets” and “dropping enough crumbs to feed all the men who have ever touched her or wished.
In the last part of the poem, it was stated that she was almost transparent and thin when she reached the clearing, and that is why the old woman only seized the