Marge Piercy | Breaking Out | An Analytical Study


Marge Piercy | Breaking Out | An Analytical Study


Marge Piercy | Breaking Out | An Analytical Study

Marge Piercy’s Poem ‘Breaking Out’ An Analytical Study

Marge Piercy | Breaking Out | An Analytical Study

The poem entitled  ‘Breaking Out’ by Marge Piercy is a poem written on the theme of sufferance that the poetess had undergone during her childhood at the hand of her parents.

The poem begins with the phrase: ”My first political act.” Practically there is nothing political in the poem. But the reference suggests to us that the poetess’ struggle was like that of political leaders. In politics, rivalry is a common thing. One party or a political leader struggles hard to overcome the other. Here the poetess struggled to overcome the oppression that she had suffered during her childhood. It was a painful experience of the poetess. This reference shows us how hard and painful her life was.

In the poem, there is a reference to Sisyphus. He was the legendary king of Corinth. For various offenses, he was condemned in the underworld eternally to roll a boulder to the top of a hill from where it always rolled down.

The poetess Merge Piercy makes the reference to Sisyphus to make a comparison of her mother’s sufferance. Her mother had to work hard all the time. There was no end to that. She had to remove sludge and scrub the things every day which were humdrum and tiresome. The poetess hated the chores. The reference works as a metaphor in the poem to explain how her mother happened to suffer.

The poetess’ parents judged her to be wicked. Then her parents used their wooden yardstick to punish her.  Her mother wielded it on her fiercely and her father used it on her even harder. The poetess is a child who could do nothing against the oppression that she suffered. But she tried hard to get rid of it. One day she was able to break up the yardstick. The breaking up of the yardstick symbolized that she had acquired courage enough to stand against the age-long prejudice and oppression perpetrated upon children.

This poem is a difficult one because of its compressed style. The imagery of Sisyphus and the imagery of factories ash contribute to the difficulty of the poem. There are some phrases in the poem which can hardly be gauged as: ‘my first political act’,  leaning together like gossips’,  ‘scrubbing as raw knees as the factories ash’  etc.

However, the poem gives a tincture of how the poetess became a victim of oppression at the hand of her parents during her childhood. 0 0 0


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N. B. This article entitled ‘Marge Piercy | Breaking Out | An Analytical Study’ originally belongs to the book ‘World Poetry Criticism‘ by Menonim Menonimus.

Books of Literary Criticism by M. Menonimus:

  1. World Short Story Criticism
  2. World Poetry Criticism
  3. World Drama Criticism
  4. World Novel Criticism
  5. World Essay Criticism
  6. Indian English Poetry Criticism
  7. Indian English Poets and Poetry Chief Features
  8. Emily Dickinson’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  9. Walt Whitman’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  10. Critical Essays on English Poetry
  11. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: Return of the Spirit-An Analytical Study
  12. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: ‘Yawmiyyat Naib Fil Arayaf’-An Analytical Study
  13. Analytical Studies of Some Arabic Short Stories
  14. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Pre-Islamic Period
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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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