Essay on Snapshots of a Daughter In Law

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Adrienne Rich Defines Story
In “Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law” by Adrienne Rich the poet is able to touch on all the different stages in a woman’s life therefore adopting a story temperament. The story temperament can be defined as a poem having three parts consisting of a beginning, middle, and end. The poem also has to display unity, focus, conflict, and resolution. Every woman may face different conflicts in their lives but in the poem the women are faced with sadness and depression while living in a patriarchal society. The title itself is very strong in that it is not snapshots of a woman, but snapshots of a daughter-in-law. This title foreshadows a male figure in which the woman will be married to and dependent upon. The word snapshots can also foreshadow the different stages in a woman’s life certain photos (or stanzas) will capture.
With a strong relatable background, Rich is an advocate for women’s rights and equality to men in every aspect whether politically, socially, or economically. Coming from a traditional and intellectual family the poet married a Harvard economist and bore three children at a young age. Going through the same issues she discusses and wants to change allows the poem to become poetry of witness. If a woman remains independent and single throughout her lifetime something is thought to be wrong with her. From the moment women are born they are sucked into the norms of society, which is to be under her father’s guidance and protection growing up then ultimately become good wives for their husband once they marry. This signifies dependence on a man for mostly all a woman’s life.
The poem starts off describing a very young and naïve woman. “You, once a belle in Shreveport, with henna-colored hair, sk...

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... single photograph or “snapshot” which I believe Adrienne Rich did well. Full of conflict, dramatic tension, as well as a storyline with two sides Rich’s poem fulfills the story temperament requirements perfectly. Overall, “Snapshots of a Daughter-In-Law” is the embodied truth of submissive wives living in a patriarchal society seeking resolution or a sense of independence.

Works Cited
"American Poets of the 20th Century The Poets Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)." Adrienne Rich (1929-2012). N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
McClatchy, J.D. "Theodore Roethke." The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry Second Edition. 2nd ed. New York: Vintage, 2003. 345-349. Print.
Orr, Gregory . "Four Temperaments and the Forms of Poetry." Four Temperaments and the Forms of Poetry. N.p., 1 Mar. 2014. Web. 17 Mar. 2014. .

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