The Mother Of Law Asks The Daughter

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In part 6, the mother-in-law asks, “has Nature shown/ her household books to you, daughter-in-law,/ that her sons never saw?” (Rich 67-69). The tone is argumentative and almost confrontational, but as we look deeper, the older woman seems also to encourage the younger woman to pursue the idea of creating her own life outside of her marriage. She seems to be saying, it may be too late for me to create my own identity separate from my husband, but not yet for you. The mother-in-law asks the daughter-in-law if there is a side to her that her husband has not seen, hinting to the idea that the daughter-in-law should keep her own identity rather than exposing every part of herself to her husband. Rich is addressing the fact that women were not expected to achieve anything besides marrying and having a family, the typical 1950’s stereotype that many women abided by. But in this stanza, the Mother-In-Law is almost hinting that the Daughter-In-Law still has time to break away from this stereotype and create her own life and her own identity apart from her husband, an idea that would have been highly rejected during the post-war, baby-boom era. Towards the end of the poem, Rich writes the two lines, only 7 words that truly represent her tone and point in “Snapshots of a Daughter-In-Law”: Sigh no more, ladies./Time is male” (Rich 93-94). Rich is accepting one of the most obvious aspects of the 1950’s when she writes “time is male,” meaning that time, as such a vast and consuming
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