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Power Analysis

Author: poem of Adrienne Rich Type: poem Views: 19

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Living in the earth-deposits of our history

Today a backhoe divulged out of a crumbling flank of earth
one bottle amber perfect a hundred-year-old
cure for fever or melancholy a tonic
for living on this earth in the winters of this climate.

Today I was reading about Marie Curie:
she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness
her body bombarded for years by the element
she had purified
It seems she denied to the end
the source of the cataracts on her eyes
the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil

She died a famous woman denying
her wounds
her wounds came from the same source as her power.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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This poem I thought was about Curie a Polish Physicist who discovered radium. The radium was her power. It was what won her nobel prizes but in the end killed her. I don't believe this is about feminism but about a woman with a goal and love. Radium.

| Posted on 2014-11-02 | by a guest

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This poem illustrates the inequality between sexes. A female scientist was often left unnoticed for her discoveries. Once Curie grasped the power she felt; both physically and mentally from her discovery she felt this power belonged to her.

| Posted on 2012-11-19 | by a guest

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Marie Curie was Polish, not French. Her husband was French... It\'s a feminist poem, about women\'s power. The power that Curie had, by discovering Radium and Polonium and how easily could it be taken away from her if she admitted that what she discovered, her greatest power is also what kills her. It\'s about inequality between sexes, like most of Rich\'s poems...

| Posted on 2012-06-06 | by a guest

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i thing its more about how she was feeing about the people that surrounded her because she mostly took care of them rather than herself she was very willing and strong and courageous

| Posted on 2012-05-14 | by a guest

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Marie Curie was French and her Dad was German. There was tension between both nations at the time so this poem is about the struggle between a man and his daughters love and society\'s oppressions.

| Posted on 2012-04-29 | by a guest

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The first part of the poem is a metaphor of sorts. In a world when women were so suppressed by men [\"winters of climate\"] Marie found something, albeit to her demise, that gave her power and strength in that world. That something could have been anything, it just happened to be a bottle in this case, but it is really meant to say that once a woman found a source of power she latched onto it, and that source of power is everlasting (like her discovery of radium, or the amber bottle). She was unwilling to let go of this (experimenting with radium) because it gave her power, thus she denied its harmful effects on her body until her death.

| Posted on 2012-04-18 | by a guest

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Actually, Radium can be used to make plutnonium, so in a sense, Curie\'s discoveries were a step in to making an A-bomb.

| Posted on 2012-04-03 | by a guest

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Radium was considered a cure for \"insanity\" or melancholy in the past. That being said, the first part addresses the uncovering of something from the past that we now know as dangerous (radium) in modern times. The second part addresses Marie Curie who discovered radium which was used as a cure during that time frame. Instead of admitting that her discovery, her source of power and public acknowledgment in the scientific world, might have been something causing damage, the author speculates that she refused to admit the dangers of her discovery since it was her source of power (in a time when women had little). Her need to cling to her source of power was greater than her need to warn of the wounds that came from radium poisoning...as intelligent as she was, she must have known. She died at the hands of her own struggle for power which walked hand in hand with her most pertinent discovery.

| Posted on 2011-02-23 | by a guest

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this poem is about how power destroys us while we enjoy it. Marie curie discovered radium and handled it daily. she was a semi-respected scientist (simply because she was a woman in the time period) but she died of radiation poisoning, denying the fact that it was her greatest discovery that killed her.
the beginning is simply about how easily the past is recalled, preserved, and how that is a power also, but but obsession with that past is dangerous.

| Posted on 2010-11-07 | by a guest

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I would like to point out that marie curie discovered radium, and had basically nothing to do with the discovery and creation of the atomic bomb.

| Posted on 2010-04-01 | by a guest

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could it be some sort of metaphor to Marie's relationship with Pierre and that she too was could have been surpressed but she denied it.... "her wounds came from the same source as her power" Like she drew strength from her husband but it wasn't always shiney happy as she said it was. im just thinking this because rich usually has a "women being oppressed slant"

| Posted on 2010-03-12 | by a guest

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Marie Curie was the woman who created the succes in making atomic bombs
with atoms, the poem is of Maries success, though how her obsession with it
became the death of her. Contrasting Marie Curies wounds an way of life to
be obsessed with her ambition/professional success also personal
aggrandisement and the consequences.

| Posted on 2009-11-09 | by a guest

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i think i agree. I knew it had something to do with power being the death of people. Some sort of ironic twist about humanity and its relationship with the earth maybe? Im not sure. Mostly i dont understand the begining of it or at least how it relates to the rest of the poem. Maybe im just stupid...

| Posted on 2009-04-16 | by a guest

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• Glorification of Marie Curie, a smart and successful woman who died because of her experimentations with radiology
• Describes a tonic that cures fever and x she goes into realistic cure in Marie Curie—whose body deteriorated until she finally died from the experiments she did
• Denying her wounds, denying her wounds that came from the same source of power: her brilliance and her experiments are her best success but also the reason for her death—irony

| Posted on 2009-02-11 | by a guest

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no one has posted anything? How very unhelpful. I was trying to get some opinions myself, but what I can only imagine this to be is an attempt to compare Marie Curie to a backhoe. Marie Curie is the discoverer of radium (which is what they use for x-rays). The backhoe is a large machine that is used to scoop up heavy stuff like dirt or anything on a construction site, and brings it back to the cab that is operating it. So maybe Rich is saying that Curie's radium was being dragged back to her thus causing her to become ill. Maybe Rich is arguing that with woman, all of the things they create which give them power will eventually bring their demise, no matter how willful they are in denying it. However, i'm not really sure, but we will be discussing this poem in class tomorrow, so if you want I can post some other opinions on here when I have some time.

| Posted on 2008-10-22 | by a guest

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