Daystar: Word and Rita

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Adam J. Greenberg
English 105
7/23/2007
The Morning Star
Rita Dove's poem Daystar really gives the reader a lot to think about. At first, we learn about a woman who seems to be under a lot of stress, some sleeping children and a man that takes what he desires from the woman. Through the use of specific words and phrases the reader is intended to make initial assumptions about the characters. However, after reading the poem a few more times, evaluating and scrutinizing the words and phrases, we begin to realize the possible alternative messages. The words Rita has chosen in her poem make a profound impact on the reader. If the word and phrases are dismissed in their face value, the reader may not see the true meaning; However if scrutinized and researched, the writings can take on new meanings. There are some parts of the story that cannot be interpreted, such as we know the woman seeks time alone: "She wanted a little room for thinking:" (1), we also know there is at least one infant in the house: "but she saw diapers steaming on the line" (2) and she is probably waiting for the diapers to dry. With this sentence: "a doll slumped behind the door" (3), we know there is at least one toddler or young child in the house and ironically, slumping is what she wants to do behind the garage. Lastly, we know the children are napping and she has about an hour before they wake. These facts cannot be interpreted or refuted.

When we read Daystar for the first time, we learn about a woman, some children and a man. In the opening stanza, our mind convinces us that this woman is a mother by Rita's use of the phrases "diapers steaming" (2), "doll slumped"(3) and "children's naps"(5). Rita further enforces the woman to mother relationship with the visualization of the child appearing at the top of the stairs: "And just what was mother doing out back with the field mice?" (14-15). These words and phrases together are critical to the enforcement of the woman to mother...
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