“The principal concerned of poets is either to explain themselves to the world or to explain the world to themselves” To what extent do you agree with this statement and how does Eunice De Souza convey her principle concerns.
Poetry is a complexed art; styles vary from poet to poet. Many poets, use poetry as a form of communicating to the world, what they truly feel, use instances that take place in their life to explain the world to themselves or to explain themselves to the world. One would think why poets use poetry as a form to express themselves, the reason being is they use figures of speech such as metaphors, personifications, alliterations to bring out emotion and the authors true feeling. Eunice De Souza does this in her poetry, she’s a modern poet, and she talks freely about her sexuality and sexual preferences, about her affairs and personal life. One could say that she goes against the Indian culture as Indians do not talk about these things so freely, hence people say that she’s very westernized.
In my opinion, I feel that Eunice De Souza uses poetry as a form to explain herself to the world. After reading through Eunice De Souza’s poetry, we get to know a lot about her and what she’s gone through in her life, we can use these instances to justify how she explains herself to the world through her poetry.
One of the main themes De Souza discusses in her poetry is the oppression of woman. She often feels that woman are manipulated by marriage, they’re married to ensure security and stability in their life. However after being married, in most cases the husbands end up not working, and sitting at home drinking away their lives. The women are the ones who end up having to work and provide for the family, and also take care of their children. She claims this is what most Goan women go through and therefore she mocks the whole idea of marriages. In the poem ‘Mrs Hermione Gonsalvez, De Souza mocks arranged marriages, “Just look at my parents, how they married me to a dark man, on my own I wouldn’t even have looked at him. She claims how men are more laidback and don’t take matters seriously in the poem ‘He Speaks’, “Everywhere I go, they fall into my arms” , “The next time we were making love, I said quite casually : I hope you realize I do this with other women”, from both these lines you see how Eunice portrays men to be selfish and disloyal to their wives, and how they take serious matters like affaires so casually when they’re actually suppose to honor and respect their commitment to their wives.
From reading some of De Souza other poems, we get to know that she lost her father at a young age. We come across this in the poem Autobiographical, she states “I killed my father when I was three”, this is obviously not true as no one can be a murder at the age of three. However maybe she’s trying to say that people from her family blame her for her father’s death. Hence, she often never received sympathy from anyone and had quite an unpleasant childhood, in the same poem; she states “Yes, I’ve tried suicide”, “I thought the whole world was trying to rip me up, cut me down, go through me with a razor blade”, therefore we see that she often felt everyone was against her and she could never really live with herself for this reason. She maybe began to believe that she was a bad omen and her father died because of her, and so maybe she tried to commit suicide. However she ends the poem with “That’s what I wanted to do to the world”. This may have been because no-one was there for her when she was young and so she doesn’t want to have anything to do with any of those people. Her nostalgia as a child is also shown in the poem ‘One Man’s Poetry’ where she states “As I grew up, I longed only to laugh easily, all that emerged was a nervous whinny”. We see that she did not have happy memories as a child.
From De Souza’s writing we see that she did not have a good relation with her family. In the poem ‘Forgive Me, Mother’, Eunice seems to mock and insult her mother. She states that she was sorry she left her mother ‘a lifelong’ widow, ‘old’ and ‘alone’. She states that living with her mother was like ‘kill or die’, Both kill and die are harsh terms and De Souza claims that these were the sort of conditions she went through as a child and so she had no option but to leave. ‘I was never young’, I feel she’s trying to convey to the reader that what she went through as a child was pretty horrific and therefore she never really had a childhood. She ends the poem with “In dreams, I hack you”. She ends it with such a harsh term. Therefore the poem could symbolize De Souza’s desire and hatred for her mom, and how sorry she is, that she feels that way.
Lastly, a poem that I felt brought out De Souza’s personality was the poem ‘Reprieve’, like most of De Souza’s poems ‘Reprieve’ is written in colloquial form. The poem at first glance seems as though Eunice is addressing someone and she states “nothing in your little black heart can frighten me”, she seems very hostile and does not want people to get close to her. She may mean that she’s been through so much and that she’s not scared of anything anymore. However, after reading it the second time, I felt that De Souza was not trying addressing someone but the readers themselves. She feels that no one’s a good person and no one can be trusted, all men and women are sinners and that’s why they all have little black hearts.