Analysis of Poems
The new woman is portrayed as different from the True Woman who was very domestic and saintly. One thing that stands out about the New Woman is the fact she recognized her rights and therefore became autonomous. This cultural change was in itself liberation for the New Woman from the true Woman who had to live according the standards set by a male dominated society (Cutter & Parini 2008). A couple of poems show how these women sought to stand out from the crowd and prove that they were on the same platform if not better than that of men (Holden 1999). The image of the New Woman can be seen in the poems such as Why We Oppose Votes for Men by Duer Miller and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
The New Woman in Miller’s poem is seen as less emotional and that men are more emotional than women. She says that women should not have the vote because they are emotional themselves. This depicts women as very stronger and in case of anything; it is men who are emotional because they would rather fight about answering a question than answering the same question. Hurston on the other hand tries to bring forth a woman who seeks to curve her identity and who are ready to speak out about their personal issue. These women are opposite of societal expectations of the True woman who had no voice at all.
The concept of the True Woman, Put in the context of the New Woman is ridiculed a great deal in so many ways. The New Woman was more educated than the True Woman and therefore feels more powerful and sophisticated than the True Woman. This is why she can stand up to challenge the New Man. Miller shows this fact in the poem when the New Woman ridicules the True Woman by insinuating that the True Woman looks up to the man. This is seen when in the poem, Miller says that “Because if men should adopt peaceable methods women will no longer look up to them.” This is a clear indication that the New Woman is trying to challenge masculinity something that the True Woman would never do. The True Woman in this case is seen to be over reliant of men to such an extent that they looked up to them in so many ways.
Of all the poems, one that stands out is the poem Why We Oppose Votes for Men by Duer miller. In the poem, it is clear that the New Woman is out to prove men wrong and tell them down by way of pointing out their failures as men. Duer dwells on some of the negative attributes exhibited by men such as fighting about small things. This makes them look more emotional than they are thought to be. if they are emotional, then it means that they are not manly as expected. Men, therefore, ought to be opposed because their masculine nature has been put to test and they have failed the test. This poem tends to portray the autonomous selfhood that the New Woman seeks as well as her sexuality which she is proving to be stronger and her voice which is keen to down play masculinity. Masculinity in this context is under scrutiny and the New Man seems not to stand up to the challenge.
Cutter, M. & Parini J. (2008). The Wadsworth Themes in American Literature Series, 1910 1945: Theme 13: The Making of the New Woman and the New Man. Belmont: Cengage Learning.
Holden, R. J. (1999). Shifting Worlds: Visions and Re- Visions of Feminism in Science Fiction Narratives. Vol. 2. Madison: University of Wisconsin