Gretel by Andrea Budy Analysis

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“A woman is born to this: sift, measure, mix, roll thin.” These starting words of the poem Gretel by Andrea Hollander Budy already show the imprisonment of women within a certain standard set by society. These words basically tell us that a woman has no choice on which path to take in her life because she is already born to something. This idea of women, along with prostitution, is what is being shown in the poem. Gretel, though modified, from the children’s tale Hansel and Gretel serves as the exemplary figure. This poem shows ideas about prostitution, and how women will always be caged in the standards set upon them no matter how hard they try to escape. The she in the poem refers to Gretel, but older than her character in the original story. Though it is not explicitly stated that it is Gretel, the poem’s title gave it away and the she does certain things that are relatable to what happened in the original Hansel and Gretel story such as the dropping of crumbs, the woman seizing the brother, and the mentioning of the oven. The speaker, on the other hand, seems to be a third person close to Gretel who sees the events that happened in the poem. This speaker, though, is most probably a woman because it is as if she sympathizes with Gretel. She has enough knowledge of what Gretel is going through. Also, it seems as if the speaker knows Gretel well enough since the speaker has witnessed Gretel growing up (Gretel learning the dough until it folds into her skin, Gretel trying to lose it, Gretel beginning the long walk, etc.). In the original Hansel and Gretel story, it was Hansel who was doing most of the work and decisions to make them both survive and find their way back to their father’s house. He was the one who dropped the trail of stone pebbles and crumbs; the one who was always comforting Gretel; and even when they found the witch’s house, he ordered Gretel which parts of the house she is going to eat. Being the older brother, he was the more

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