Hunger Post

In Adrienne Rich’s poem, “Hunger”, there are many powerful lines that attracted my attention. Among several, the second stanza line “They can rule the world while they can persuade us our pain belongs in some order. Is death by famine worse than death by suicide?” evoked the most thought. A theme of the poetry read in this class thus far has been the oppression, struggle, and exclusion felt by marginalized women. In Audre Rich’s “Uses of the erotic”, the author describes how, over time, society has silenced an internal source of power in women, this power is referred to as the erotic. I felt that “Hunger” was an extension of this oppression on a wider societal level. In “Uses of the erotic”, Lorde paints the picture of a reality where women will never have the full control over their sense of the erotic. Rich takes this idea and elevates it to the next level. I interpreted the usage of “they” as an allusion to societal norms that have developed over time to normalize the mistreatment of women. The line “our pain belongs in some order” reinforces this normalization by asserting that we, women included, have been taught that societies mistreatment of women is nothing out of the ordinary. The last line “Is death by famine worse than death by suicide?” bluntly and wholly exemplifies the point being brought to light by both poets. Is it better to die on your own terms or by the rules set by our society? In terms of poetic themes, I don’t see any particular clusters, however, the passage does have a dark and despotic feel through the usage of words like rule, pain, famine, and suicide.