Points of View Commentary

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'Points of View' Commentary

'Points of View', written by Lucinda Roy, is a poem that features different points of view (as the title suggests) on the subject of water: those of women collecting water in, what can be assumed to be, an African country and those of a person living in a modernised (possibly a 'Western') country. Furthermore, Roy seems to be critical of the aforementioned Western lifestyle and this poem presents an underlying moral that everybody should be grateful for what they have, regardless of how basic those things are.

Roy's poem is comprised of two main stanzas; the first of which details the women's daily struggle to provide water for their families. The term “scoop up” evokes an image of a woman scooping up water with her bare hands, which is definitely an image of poverty – perhaps these women are unable to afford buckets and are forced to resort to desperate measures; although it isn't stated by the author, the reader may assume that these women have travelled great distances to acquire this source of “life”. Referring to water as “life”, or as a source of life, is representative of how African (and other regions in a similar state) would view water: quite literally, finding clean water is their source of life and as such it is extremely precious. Thus, near the end of the poem, water droplets are compared to “diamond-drops”, which demonstrates its worth by comparing it to diamonds.

Although the role of a woman, in the first stanza, is presented as a life giver for her family by “offering” life to the husband, children and elders – even putting a “blistered cooking-pot” before herself – females are ultimately, fairly or not, presented as inferior to everybody or everything: they “offer” water, as though to one of a higher status. Alternatively, the role of women in the poem is more one of a provider, providing water for her family as the strongest individual in the same way that a parent would provide food by working, in Western...
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