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Anorexic Analysis



Author: poem of Eavan Boland Type: poem Views: 61

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Flesh is heretic.

My body is a witch.

I am burning it.



Yes I am torching

ber curves and paps and wiles.

They scorch in my self denials.



How she meshed my head

in the half-truths

of her fevers



till I renounced

milk and honey

and the taste of lunch.



I vomited

her hungers.

Now the bitch is burning.



I am starved and curveless.

I am skin and bone.

She has learned her lesson.



Thin as a rib

I turn in sleep.

My dreams probe



a claustrophobia

a sensuous enclosure.

How warm it was and wide



once by a warm drum,

once by the song of his breath

and in his sleeping side.



Only a little more,

only a few more days

sinless, foodless,



I will slip

back into him again

as if I had never been away.



Caged so

I will grow

angular and holy



past pain,

keeping his heart

such company



as will make me forget

in a small space

the fall



into forked dark,

into python needs

heaving to hips and breasts

and lips and heat

and sweat and fat and greed.





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

.: :.

I feel the meaning of this poem is about the woman's struggle with her body image and how she has sinned and now returns it back to God; i.e. withering away skinny as a rib so she can return to him. It has great visual aspects with the use of vivid words.

| Posted on 2016-07-13 | by a guest


.: :.

In Anorexic, the speakers own body is personified, referred to as a “witch” the speaker is “burning”. The speaker speaks of “vomiting her hungers”. The personification of the speakers own body creates considerable distance between the speaker and her faults. This distance created room for more criticism and degradation. The poem starts with a tone of violence, portraying the intense internal struggle gone through by the speaker. The tone however turns to one of vulnerability as the poem progresses, with the speaker turning in her sleep, her dreams “probe a claustrophobia, a sensuous enclosure.” With the following dream-like sequence we see the presence of her driving force: a man. She talks of this male figure, saying she will “slip
back into him again, as if [she] had never been away.” This lines suggests the male figure may food personified. However, later the speaker talks of the man, saying: “I will grow angular and holy past pain, keeping his heart such company as will make me forget in a small space the fall into forked dark” this light suggests the male character is representative of female vulnerability in a hegemonic, patriarchal society. In order to gain affection and approval, the female speaker changes herself, and makes herself forget the “fall into forked dark, into python needs”, she tries to forget that she is unhappy. Through the use of diction, syntax, imagery, personification and the creation of tone, Boland here expresses her own opinions on the vulnerability of the female identity.

| Posted on 2014-05-07 | by a guest


.: :.

Women, in the eyes of society, are assumed to have flawless, perfectly designed bodies with faces unblemished. This view forces society to value the character of a woman based on her demeanor and in the end shows how vulnerable women are to forces they cannot control. In both poems the narrator establishes the distaste of her body. Her low self-esteem forces her to feel worthless as a woman because she cannot demonstrate her sole purpose in life: beauty. This view was primarily constructed from society. This shows how judgmental humans can be.

| Posted on 2013-12-31 | by a guest


.: :.

I believe there are 2 separate allusions int his poem. the first being to the salem witch trials and the hundreds of thousands of people, women in particular, who were tortured and burned (I.E. now the bitch is burning, my body is a witch / and i am burning it. etc.)
the second being to the creation and the fall. Adam and Eve. she referrs to the rib and to a warm drum and his heart, she wants to starve herself as a punishment for all women. she wants to get rid f the excess skin and sink back into her original state, the rub, and take back the fall, so that women wouldnt be such failures (her view not mine)

| Posted on 2013-09-25 | by a guest


.: :.

I believe there are 2 separate allusions int his poem. the first being to the salem witch trials and the hundreds of thousands of people, women in particular, who were tortured and burned (I.E. now the bitch is burning, my body is a witch / and i am burning it. etc.)
the second being to the creation and the fall. Adam and Eve. she referrs to the rib and to a warm drum and his heart, she wants to starve herself as a punishment for all women. she wants to get rid f the excess skin and sink back into her original state, the rub, and take back the fall, so that women wouldnt be such failures (her view not mine)

| Posted on 2013-09-25 | by a guest


.: :.

I believe there are 2 separate allusions int his poem. the first being to the salem witch trials and the hundreds of thousands of people, women in particular, who were tortured and burned (I.E. now the bitch is burning, my body is a witch / and i am burning it. etc.)
the second being to the creation and the fall. Adam and Eve. she referrs to the rib and to a warm drum and his heart, she wants to starve herself as a punishment for all women. she wants to get rid f the excess skin and sink back into her original state, the rub, and take back the fall, so that women wouldnt be such failures (her view not mine)

| Posted on 2013-09-25 | by a guest


.: :.

That is cool that people can receive the personal loans and this opens new possibilities.

| Posted on 2013-06-12 | by a guest


.: :.

I personally have suffered from an eating disorder for five years now and in response to \"he\" is, I believe \"he\" is \"Ed\". People who have eating disorders call their disease Ed because the letters stand for Eating Disorder.

| Posted on 2012-07-17 | by a guest


.: :.

I dont agree the poem ends with her dead. The \'he\' refers direvtly to Adam. The poem suggests that the female anorexic seeks to be sinless. This poem makes a connection between contemporary female anxieties to a long line of female ancestors. In her first two volumes of poems Boland had not found her female voice. In this collection however she challenges the dangers of female sterotyping and this poem rejects those stereotypes and brings us back to the flesh, to the female body.

| Posted on 2012-04-30 | by a guest


.: :.

I thought that the \"him\" she refers to is a former lover who left her because she gained weight. There is an abundance of fire imagery in this poem, signifying hell. She feels that eating forced her lover to abandon her so she sees food as the gateway to hell. She makes her body the enemy and punishes her offender by refusing food thereby killing herself also. She empties her body in an attempt to rid herself of \"sins\" and to go back to a time where she was happy with \"him\".

| Posted on 2011-04-26 | by a guest


.: :.

I thought the \"him\" she spoke of was a lover who had died and now she wants to die just to be with him again.
The image I get while reading this is my own experience of depression. I typically lay in bed wishing I could just fade into the sheets.
This poem is about deterioration. Maybe she is not anorexic. Perhaps she is empty in her heart and soul and feels as though she is deteriorating. Much like one would deteriorate if they had anorexia.

| Posted on 2010-12-13 | by a guest


.: :.

When Boland refers to "him" when speaking about "slipping back into him" and "the song of his breath" she is making a biblical allusion to Adam (woman were made from his "rib", which she also makes a reference to). The words and phrases such as "sinful" and "learned her lesson" used to describe "she" are an allusion to Eve who was overcome by greed and temptation and who sinned and ate the forbidden apple, just as an anorexic is tempted to eat food which is considered bad.

| Posted on 2009-12-14 | by a guest


.: :.

When Boland refers to "him" when speaking about "slipping back into him" and "the song of his breath" she is making a biblical allusion to Adam (woman were made from his "rib", which she also makes a reference to). The words and phrases such as "sinful" and "learned her lesson" used to describe "she" are an allusion to Eve who was overcome by greed and temptation and who sinned and ate the forbidden apple, just as an anorexic is tempted to eat food which is considered bad.

| Posted on 2009-12-14 | by a guest


.: :.

It is the community of women, in particular, Irish women, that Boland feels has no voice. Like women who suffer from anorexia, the Irish woman has a distorted image of herself, an image fed to her by male poets who depend on women as motifs in their poetry.The women in their poems were often passive, decorative, raised to emblematic status. Women in traditional Irish poetry are seen only as ornaments. This image matches the psychological image that has been identified in women who suffer from anorexia women who strive for perfection and are anxious to please.Women are told that their creative gift is dangerous to [their] tradition of womanhood. If Bolands creative gift is substituted for food (for anorexics), Bolands poem takes on a broader meaning.

| Posted on 2009-11-23 | by a guest


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The poem starts out with her body talking about it mind. How its mind says no food and how the body reacts to it angry with it saying "now the bitch is burning"
At the end it speeks about "his breath" and "slip back into 'him' again". I don't understand necessarily who 'he' is. He could be death, gluttony, etc. I personally think that 'he' is death, and the poem ends with her dead.

| Posted on 2009-10-22 | by a guest




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