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Analysis and comments on Living In Sin by Adrienne Rich

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Comment 12 of 92, added on August 21st, 2005 at 1:34 PM.

I am looking for information on a poet from early 1900's. May have done
some work for or with Victor C. Anderson artist and Alfred S. Campbell Art
Co. I am also looking for more information on Alfred S. Campbell Art Co.
Possibly all come out of New Jersey area. Elizabeth NJ perhaps? In
particular, I am looking for the date of poem called "Losted" by Burges
Johnson. Thank you.

Lonnie from United States
Comment 11 of 92, added on August 21st, 2005 at 12:27 PM.

With anxiety and some precaution, Adrienne Rich presents an image with
multiple meanings. Her ability to present thoughts in such a precise manner
allows the reader to envision possible interpretations and, yet, to focus,
finally, on the main point she makes: A woman bound to her husband feels,
by forces beyond her control, the need of a frequent visitor.

Rich, with delicate hints, enters the evil which encompasses the sin
insinuated throughout the poem. The reader stands aside with the
“approacher” and peeks in through grimey panes. He does his bidding and
departs, leaving the woman but a memory to recognize him when he comes
again. Meanwhile the husband’s unaware figure is present and then is not.
The woman must make haste of what she has formed--an evil dust on “the
furniture of love.”

A boiling pot of coffee on the stove signifies normalcy, but the woman is
caught in a twister of emotions. Mate or milkman? Two different loves
overwhelm her. Only one steals her from her slumber. She is controlled by
lustful demons she does not wish to rebuke. In a battle of soul and flesh,
Rich emphasizes the dominance of the flesh in a story, unfortunately, too
commonly known.

haoraniscool from United States
Comment 10 of 92, added on August 20th, 2005 at 5:16 PM.

This poem is a shear masterpiece in its own time, depicting early 1960 life
in Shippawee, Illinois, where it was considered illegal to be living
together without a marriage license. The boldness of the poem, the actions
of the characters, the cheese and empty bottles, paints the clearest
picture of the hardships of this troubling time period.

Stanselmon from United States
Comment 9 of 92, added on April 23rd, 2005 at 10:03 PM.

This poem represents a woman who has to live with the consequences of bad
choices made soley on desire over logic. She sees the real and does nothing
about it. The title of the poem relates to the time this poem was written.
IN the 1950's, to live with someone of the opposite sex and not be married
was looked down on.She was so excited to move in with this slob of a man
that she was willing to settle for less.For her, a new day is one of
emotional pain.She moved in only at his "urging" but he never made any
promises so in a way she deserves what she gets.

Mark from United States
Comment 8 of 92, added on December 5th, 2004 at 3:29 PM.

The poem address the discrepancies in the "ideal" of love and the reality
in which Rich's characters are living. It is obvious that the woman longs
for the picture which was "risen at his urging" but instead is disappointed
by the their actual situation. At night the couple can indulge in romantic
endeavors but the rising of the day always sheds light on reality. The
characters are "living in sin" among false and fallen hopes.

Amie from United States
Comment 7 of 92, added on December 5th, 2004 at 3:09 PM.

These two people are "Living in sin" because they are living together
without marriage. I believe that when they are in their apartment they are
out of the real world. She doesn't think about what needs to be done
around the house because she is caught up in their love. When the milk man
comes up the stairs it is bringing them back to reality!!

Melissa from United States
Comment 6 of 92, added on November 22nd, 2004 at 5:25 PM.

The poem is about a woman sruggling to maintain contentedness living the
life of a homemaker. We are given all the tedious details of her day, so
slow it goes that she can having a staring war with a beetle hiding among
the saucers. During the day she wonders why it is she is living this life
for a man that is not there. Instead of the beauty she thought her home
would have because of love, dirt still builds up and she finds herself
wondering what motivation she has to clean it. At night when he returns her
work is justified suddenly, and there is the love and beauty of life, but
it seems to be fading and beginning to fall into doubt. At night she feels
the daylight coming in, a representation of the true daytime when her doubt
is strongest and love does not seem to exist in her home.

Cheryl from United States
Comment 5 of 92, added on November 22nd, 2004 at 4:55 PM.

"Living in Sin" is a poem about the morning that comes after the dream of
'happily ever after'. The couple Rich introduces is characterized by the
objects in the apartment. The studio apartment symbolizes the hearts of the
lovers. It has become the taunting reminder of what happens to the fairy
tale when confronted with dirty dishes and grocery lists. The female
speaker rfers to the act of noticing the disarray of the place as, "Half
heresy". This is the feeling that to notice any flaw in the love is to
discredit it entirely. He, on the other hand seems much less consciously
aware of the predicament. Yet, certain actions of his tell his faded
affection for the idea of the love affair. The piano reference is
particularly poignant. "declared it out of tune, shrugged at teh mirror".
The piano's dischord is the song of the studio and their love. It is there
to be touched and known, but has none of the melody that love once
promised. The mirror symbolizes the self examination he wishes not to
attempt. He frowns because it is clear that things are not as they were.
But he walks off because it is easier. The poem ends with the woman
acknowledgeing that every night she is revived enough to keep on going as
they are. But, the beauty of this conclusion is that she is never brought
back to that love they had planned. The dream once faded cannot be
revisited. One is only able to just barely recall the shapes and colors and
something of the way it felt, but the daytime is so much at hand that it
smears and rubbs away the night's memory. She wakes up every morning able
to move through teh motions of their life but never able to catch sight of
what was supposed to have been. This poem is a sharp and visual portrait of
the realities of everyday as they replace the imagined romantics of fantasy
and youth.

erin from United States
Comment 4 of 92, added on October 24th, 2004 at 5:32 AM.

It's about economic instability in the African national of Zimbabwe
cleverly metaphorated in a prose unsurpassed by only Marcel Prouse's
rhetorical concerning the Chinese Pig Racing scandal of 1923.

Comment 3 of 92, added on October 11th, 2004 at 5:07 AM.

I would have thought this poem was about how life is an everyday thing,
with everyday chores and ups and downs, and no love, no matter how
all-consuming, is going to change that reality

Cormac Parle from Ireland

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Information about Living In Sin

Poet: Adrienne Rich
Poem: Living In Sin
Year: 1955
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 272 times
Poem of the Day: Sep 3 2009

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