Ms. Madeline Smith
27th Jan 2013
The Looking Glass:
A Tempting Depiction of Feminine Aspiration
The poem “The Looking Glass” by Kamala Das is a descriptive poem, which elaborates the bold imagery of exploring female sexuality in her quest for love. This poem is composed in a free verse with no specific rules applied: the poet uses figurative devices like alliteration “admit and admiration, drab and destitute, living and love”, simile “as”, metonymy “looking glass” for the reflection of image when one is placed in front of it. The poem becomes irony to praise the male ego by admiring his strength only to highlight the soft, feminine self of the poet. Also, the poet frequently uses “the” article as in “the stronger one, the perfection, the shower, the shy walk, the jerky way” to make the descriptions more specific and visible to her readers. In the poem, the sensuous imagery is created that presents an intimate scene where the female lust is undoubtedly thick in the air as described by the poet. She offers to him her whole female being which includes “the musk of sweat between the breasts, “scent of long hair” and “the warm shock of menstrual blood”. She also adds: “Gift him all what makes you a woman” meaning to the sense of surrender and to submit without any exceptions. Unfortunately, her womanly offers do not suffice to capture the man’s attention forever. She is unable to possess her man till the end in spite of her total surrender. The line “Getting a man to love is easy, but living/ without him afterward may have to be/ faced” suggests that bodily solutions are not enough to keep a man’s love for the female’s desires because in the end she ends up alone and “destitute”.