‘Living in Sin’
‘Living in Sin’ is a poem written by Adrienne Rich in 1995. It has a continuous structure and is about an unmarried couple living together. In the 1950's a couple living together without being married was frowned upon. In the poem Rich describes the couples relationship and feelings.
‘Living in Sin’ starts as ‘she’ is cleaning their ‘studio’. Rich says that the couple's ‘furniture of love’ (their bed) has ‘no dust upon’ it. This implies that the man and woman are in a relationship together as their bed is well used, which suggests that they are sleeping together. The woman wishes that the window ‘panes were relived of grime’. Because the windows are covered in grime whenever ‘she’ looks out of them the world looks dirty, and when people look in their relationship looks dirty. Rich has deliberately done this to reveal that this couple are not married. This is because in the 1950's it was frowned upon for a couple to be living and sleeping together unless married so this type of relationship was considered dirty. This implies that the woman feels like she is being judged because of the relationship she is in. The use of the adjective ‘relieved’ gives the impression that the ‘panes’ have been dirty a long time hence the woman has felt this way for a long time. Rich then goes on to describe the rest of the ‘studio’ as being materialistic ‘a plate of pears a piano with a Persian shawl’. Rich has ironically alliterated the ‘p’ to draw the attention away for the couples relationship and to the scenery. This indicates that their relationship is not as perfected as their home is.
The second stanza starts with Rich saying that the ‘stairs would writhe under the milkman's tramp’ By personifying the stairs Rich evokes that the stairs symbolise the woman in the relationship and that she is in emotional pain when morning comes (the ‘milkman’ represents the morning). This shows that love is painful because ‘she’ does love the man that she is in a...
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