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Monday, July 4, 2011

Marks - Linda Pastan

My husband gives me an A
for last night's supper,
an incomplete for my ironing,
a B plus in bed.
My son says I am average,
an average mother, but if
I put my mind to it
I could improve.
My daughter believes
in Pass/Fail and tells me
I pass.  Wait 'til they learn
I'm dropping out.


This poem strikes me in two different senses:  Immediately, the poem is humorous and ironic.  The poet adopts the grading metaphor in talking about how she is sick and tired of being evaluated at all turns.  The idea is humorous, and it's a witty way to turn a situation around.  However, the last two lines strike me as being almost dark.  If life is graded, dropping out is suicide.

Could this poem be read as a suicide note?  Perhaps a journal entry of the disturbed?  Its tone seems almost too playful for that, but perhaps that last line is meant to be a turning point in tone.  I've certainly read the poem as quippy and ironic, but reading it as suicidal is also valid, I feel.

How do you feel about the portrayal of easy judgments like those portrayed in the poem?  Some may take something like, "A plus on that dinner, honey" as a compliment.  Is it degrading to be judged by others?  And can the poem be read as suicidal?  Let me know.

5 comments:

  1. My take on this is that the wife/mother is planning to declare her independence from her judgmental family, not to commit suicide. Won't they be surprised to find her gone?

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  2. Or is she going to lock herself in the bathroom, take a long bubble bath and read a book for an afternoon?

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  3. Or is she going to lock herself in the bathroom, take a long bubble bath and read a book for an afternoon?

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  4. I believe she is going to leave for a day to see if they can handle it, a mother never gives up!

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  5. She an heroed, no doubt about it.

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