A Mother's Displeasure with Her Life in Rita Dove's Daystar

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In Rita Dove’s “Daystar,” Dove describes an unnamed mother’s repetitive and exhausting daily routine to reflect the unsatisfying role that women play in society. The woman in the poem fulfills her duties as a mother by performing her chores and watching after her children, but at the end of the day, feels empty. Going through the same motions and actions day after day are not enough to fulfill the woman’s wants or needs anymore and she finds herself dreaming of a place other than the one she currently occupies. Dove switches tones frequently to express the emotions that the woman experiences throughout her day and uses disheartening words to mirror the mother’s displeasure with her life.

Diction is an integral part of the poem because Dove manipulates certain words to elicit feelings of compassion from the reader. In the second stanza, the mother “lugged a chair behind the garage” (line 4) to finally get some rest after running herself ragged all day. The word “lugged” indicates the heaviness of her responsibilities and presents feelings of melancholy. The mother’s duties are a heavy weight in her life and they prevent her from being able to perform any tasks not having to do with housework. She has to place all of her time and effort into her housework therefore eliminating any free time she could potentially have for herself.

The mother’s displeasure is not only apparent with her daily routine but also with her relationship with her husband. Throughout the poem, the husband’s role is nonexistent and is not even mentioned until the woman goes to bed. Her husband “[lurches] into her” (line 18) and she does not respond to him with any loving emotion. Dove uses the word “lurched” to describe an unwanted force of contact and to i...

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...s to be more than a stay at home mother and wife but feels trapped by the role that she if forced to play.

Similarly to the way people hold expectations for the daystar, or sun, to rise every day, mothers are expected to perform their duties like cleaning the house or taking care of the children. Both are taken advantage of and are not fully appreciated until they stop performing their duties. Throughout the poem, the woman’s daughter and husband are given names, “Liza” (line 12) and “Thomas” (line 17) respectively, but not her. The woman is only referred to as “she” or “her” which further highlights the lack of acknowledgement she receives. The mother is taken for granted by her family and is not regarded as important. Her efforts are ignored and she is never thanked for completing her tasks around the house because that is the role she is “supposed” to fulfill.
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