A Woman's Place is in the Heart
The poems "A Woman Is Not A Potted Plant" by Alice Walker and "I Knew A Woman" by Theodore Roethke both speak about women having an aura about them of beauty and magnificence. In "A Woman Is Not A Potted Plant" Walker uses the metaphor of a plant to explain the nature of a real woman. The image of a potted plant is confined to a small ceramic circle and rooted in one place. Potted plants have to be taken care of and cannot exist by themselves. Women are not like that according to Walker. She is saying that women cannot be bound to any certain thing or by anything. They are not in need of someone to take care of them despite what someone may have told them or what some men think. In the second stanza she says that a woman's "leaves" are not "trimmed to the contours of her sex" (lines 8-10). Walker is saying that her physical shape does not have to be any certain way for her to be a beautiful woman. Women are beautiful just because they are women. Walker goes on to use the metaphor of a fence to represent the confining of a woman to her race, country, motherhood, and husband. The inclusion of "her man" in that list is powerful, because women are very often labeled by whom they are married to (line 18).Women themselves sometimes use their husband or boyfriend to define who they are as a person. This is not right. Walker does not think that women should be labeled or controlled by their husbands as they so often are or allow themselves to be. The statement that a woman is "wilderness unbound" puts women places women almost above men in the whole scheme of the world (line 30-31). This is a characteristic possessed only by women, because no one would ever venture to say that men are wilderness unbound. Women tend to be associated with the Mother Nature image and Walker is saying that this is a good thing. Men do not have that magnificence that women possess in and no one knows quite where it comes from, but most...
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