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The Whore and The Child
I have chosen to analyze two poems by Rita Dove. The two poems I have chosen are “The Bistro Styx” and “For Sophie, Who’ll Be in First Grade in the Year 2000”. In both these poems we have a mother or a mother figure trying to reach out to a daughter and to a child. “The Bistro Styx” is an exploration of a mother/daughter relationship. It’s about a mother letting her daughter go and not being able to protect her any longer. In “For Sophie, Who’ll Be in First Grade in the Year 2000” we have a mother figure giving advise to a child, to protect and help her in her quest of life.
In the poem “The Bistro Styx” we find Rita Dove working with the ideas of home life. In the beginning the mother sees that her daughter approaches looking different and the mother asks, “What’s this?” The first notation of the difference from the child she was used to the woman that she has become. The daughter apologizes for being late, though she wasn’t. This is just a way of letting her mother know that she wasn’t in control anymore. Perhaps that she wasn’t in fear of any anger that the mother might have.
The second instance where we see that the mother is unhappy with what her daughter has become and she says it quite plainly with:
“We kissed. Then I leaned back to peruse
My blighted child, this wary aristocratic mole.”
The words used here are “blighted” which means something that stops growth and withers hopes and ambitions. So she is saying that her child has failed in her mother’s hopes and ambitions for her. “This wary aristocratic mole” is the mother saying that the daughter is an untrusting mammal of nobility, as moles have dark silvery fur and her daughter is dressed in head to toe in gray. Noble meaning she is better than this.
In the fifth stanza we come to where the mother speaks quite plainly about what her daughter has become.
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