A step-mother drove me from home, embittering me.
A squaw-man, a flaneur and dilettante took my virtue.
For years I was his mistress — no one knew.
I learned from him the parasite cunning
With which I moved with the bluffs, like a flea on a dog.
All the time I was nothing but “very private” with different men.
Then Daniel, the radical, had me for years.
His sister called me his mistress;
And Daniel wrote me: “Shameful word, soiling our beautiful love!”
But my anger coiled, preparing its fangs.
My Lesbian friend next took a hand.
She hated Daniel’s sister.
And Daniel despised her midget husband.
And she saw a chance for a poisonous thrust:
I must complain to the wife of Daniel’s pursuit!
But before I did that I begged him to fly to London with me.
“Why not stay in the city just as we have?” he asked.
Then I turned submarine and revenged his repulse
In the arms of my dilettante friend. Then up to the surface,
Bearing the letter that Daniel wrote me,
To prove my honor was all intact, showing it to his wife,
My Lesbian friend and everyone.
If Daniel had only shot me dead!
Instead of stripping me naked of lies,
A harlot in body and soul.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edgar Lee Masters's poem Georgine Sand Miner


  1. Camille says:

    Georgine is a role that I’m currently preparing to play in a workshop performance of “Spoon River Anthology”. As commentary on the character of the woman, and in response to the one other comment posted, Georgine is not MEANT to be strong. She is meant to be a woman duped by the institution she found herself in. She was literally the mistress to every man she truly encountered. She never knew where she stood in a relationship. When the one man she was ready to commit to told her that he would rather simply keep her as his mistress, she finally decided that she’d had enough and would ruin his reputation. However, his refusal to leave with her stripped away her delusion of love and relationship and forced her to realize that, as the final line states it, she was only ever “A harlot in body and soul.” Who would not wish they had simply been shot? Who would not wish that they could have died before realizing such a thing about themself?

  2. Moira says:

    I don’t understand why Georgine would wish herself dead at the end of the poem if she is really such a strong, free-loving, radical feminist.

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