Mothers, Daughters, And Myths

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Mothers, Daughters, and Myths “The Pomegranate” by Eaven Bolend and “The Bistro Styx” by Rita Dove are both poems that relate mother/daughter relationships to the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone. In “The Pomegranate” the narrator discusses her personal relation to the myth and the reality of her daughter’s growing relation to the tale. “The Bistro Styx” explores a mother who no longer lives with her daughter and uses the myth to display the divide that is already between the two. Both of these poems utilize details from the myth itself, symbolism through fruit and food, and the idea of the underworld to analyze the relationships between two mothers and their daughters. “The only legend I have ever loved is the story of a daughter lost in hell,” (1-2) immediately expresses the narrator in Bolend’s poem’s bond to the Greek myth. The mother feels she has personally experienced part of the myth as “an exiled child in the crackling dusk of the underworld, the stars blighted” (11-12). This correlates to the part of the myth in which Persephone was in the underworld, her mother Demeter, refused to allow her powers, as the Goddess of Agriculture, to bless the world with growth and bloom, leaving it blighted and barren. The narrators use of the word blighted represents the feelings of loneliness and sadness that she felt in those years of her life. Later in the narrator’s life she begins to identify more with Demeter, when she “knew winter was in store” (20). At this point she is a mother and sees herself in danger of losing what she loves to the underworld. She knows that “a child can be hungry” (41-42) and she must allow her daughter to bite into the pomegranate. In doing so “the legend will be hers [the daughter’s] as well as m... ... middle of paper ... ...ceed in communicating her discontent with her daughter seemed to have bothered her far more than the possibility of taking away from a potential life lesson. “The Bistro Styx,” presents the mother as disappointed and confused as she ponders “are you [her daughter] content..?” (17) because she feels her daughter deserves more than to be an “aristocratic mole” (14) to her boyfriend, in the underworld that is adulthood. After having “whispered” (67) her “ventured” (42) concerns, the mother abandons hope and “called for the bill” (70). The story of Persephone and her mother Demeter is one that can easily be related to any mother/daughter relationship. Bolend and Dove both accomplished this in their poems. Through the use of symbolism through fruit and the underworld they conveyed modern day interpretations of the mother/daughter relationship expressed in the Greek myth.

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