“She died a famous woman denying
her wounds came from the same source as her power” (p. 135)
What initially caught my eye in this stanza was the juxtaposition of her wounds and her power and how they are both born from the same source. After reading the subsequent poems in the book, it becomes apparent that the author almost always mentions suffering when mentioning power and vice versa. The two seem inherently linked. My first thought was to relate this to something that we’ve been discussing in my Women and Gender Studies class. In the 19th century, women were expected to be domestic and submissive to their husbands, tethered to the home and hearth. However, many of the women of that time actually claimed that the home was where they felt most powerful, where they were in charge of shaping the men of the industrial revolution and therefore the future of the country. Their home was both their oppressor and their source of power. I also found the repetition of the phrase “denying her wounds” striking. This denial is clearly important; perhaps we (as women) must deny our wounds, or our weaknesses, in order to achieve power in the misogynistic power dynamic we exist in? Furthermore, perhaps as women gain more power, we become that much more exposed and open to attack. Female politicians, for example, are held to a much higher degree of scrutiny and mudslinging than male politicians are. Perhaps as women ascend to higher positions of power, they are exposed to a whole new slew of wounds and attacks. Yet in order to maintain a position of power, or even gain more power, women must deny that the very thing that gives them power is killing them.