Two Poems on Being a Woman

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This essay is comparing and contrasting two poems from the Reconstruction Era and the Blacks Art Era. Both these poems are about the pain of being a woman. The Reconstruction Era was just after the Civil War and the country was struggling to find its way again and where everyone fit into society. The Black Arts Era was a time also dealing with social upheaval. There was a strong struggle for African Americans to gain their civil rights and to finally been seen as equal. Both of these poems show the sorrows and hardship of their times and the differences that the poets felt living when they did. The poem “I Sit and Sew” was written by Alice Moor Dunbar Nelson during the Reconstruction Era. It is a short lyrical poem that is about a woman who is chafing at the limits placed on her by being a woman. She is in a great deal of pain because of this. In the poem the women is watching the men deal with the death and destruction that war causes but feels that there is nothing that she can do, “But-I must sit and sew” (7). In the poem there is a strong sense of longing to be out in the world. During this period of time freedoms for women were lacking and this was even more so for black women. The horrors that both slavery and the Civil War left on people is clear in this poem, “On wasted fields, and writhing grotesque things/ Once Men” (10-11). The poem “I am a Black Woman” was written by Mari Evans during the Black Arts Era. It is a poem that also deals with great pain. There is a tone of perseverance when dealing with pain and what life throws at you. The woman in this poem is comparing her life to a song. She in contrast to the woman in the poem “I Sit and Sew” is not to sit in the background while the world is happening; “I /can be heard humming in the night” (5-6). She has also seen the pain of war and what it can do to man, “and heard my son scream all the way from Anzio/ for Peace he never knew” (13-14). But she is not going to allow this to destroy her and she...
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