Analysis of Daystar by Rita Dove

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While reading the poem “Daystar,” written by Rita Dove, its readers most likely do not ask thought-provoking questions like “Why did Dove write this?” or “What is the true meaning behind this poem?” but the poem has deeper meaning than what its outside layer portrays. Dove, an African American woman born in 1952, has not only viewed the racism of the United States society, but she has also seen how gender can or cannot play a role in the advancement of a person’s life (Rita Dove: The Poetry Foundation). The poem “Daystar” not only takes an outside perspective on the everyday life of a woman, but it closely relates to Dove’s family history. Dove uses the experiences of her life as a woman, and the knowledge gained from living in countries other than the United States, to depict the pressure and desire felt by mothers and/or wives on a daily basis.

“She wanted a little room for thinking” (1) is how Dove begins her poem, and this automatically lets the reader know that the female subject of the poem has been troubled by something, or someone. This line alone portrays the gender of the poem, and it welcomes the reader into the life of this woman who desires to reflect on whatever has been troubling her. By using the pronoun “She,” as opposed to “I,” Dove looks in on the life of an unknown woman and not on the life of her own. Throughout the poem, we learn about this woman’s miniature escape away from her daughter, Liza, and all of the responsibilities that come with being a mother. The poem’s title also tells the reader that this stressed woman is in search for something not within reach. Taking a look at the role of gender, the life of Dove herself, and the knowledge shared by scholars Stein, Meitner, and Righelato, a deeper look...

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...own life and the research of others’ are two of her prime techniques in writing her world-famous poetry.

Works Cited

"Comprehensive Biography of Rita Dove." The Rita Dove Home Page. University of Virginia.

Web. 27 July 2011. .

Meither, Erika. "On Rita Dove." Callaloo 31.3 (2008): 662-666. Project MUSE. Web. 21 Jan. 2011. . 26 July 2011.

Righelato, Pat. "From Understanding Rita Dove." Callaloo 31.3 (2008): 668-668. Project MUSE. Web. 21 Jan. 2011. . 26 July 2011.

"Rita Dove: The Poetry Foundation." Rita Dove. Poetry Foundation, 2011. Web. 27 July 2011. .

Stein, Kevin. “Lives in Motion: Multiple Perspectives in Rita Dove's Poetry.” Mississippi Review 23.2 (1995): 51-79. JSTOR. Web. 27 July 2011.

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