UNSEEN POETRY - Paper 1, 2019

Now That I am Forever With Child
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As her pregnancy progresses, she imagines how her daughter is developing inside of her, how her hands and hair are growing, forming a woman soon to be brought into the world. This sentiment is pretty much universal. Nearly every mother imagines what her child will look like and how he or she is developing in the womb.
Because the ability to have children is bestowed upon women alone, society expects that all women will embrace this privilege and want to be a mother. This is an unfair standard. Though women are biologically capable of bearing children, women have other desires as well- as men do- and have reproductive choice.
'I thought you were my victory / though you cut me like a knife'Anne Stevenson is trying to portray a mother's feelings of pain and anguish of giving birth to a child in the poem. 'cut me like a knife' - simile.Although she must endure such pain, it is also exciting for the mother to bring new life into the world, which in fact feels like a "victory" to a new parent.However, throughout the poem, the speaker denies the fact that giving birth to a child is a victory, by using words such as "antagonist", "bruise" and "scary". Suggest the negative side of birth.This poem contains a tone of conflict and anger.'The stains of your cloud of glory / bled from my veins'The mother feels her own blood running through the veins of the baby that lives within her'blind thing' 'blank insect eyes'She sees her child as a stranger. This mother sees her child as more of an insect than a human being.'Why do I have to love you? / How have you won?'Shows the mother's true conflicts. These rhetorical questions are the basic questions of human existence.'You sting with bladed cries'metaphor. negative imagery. 'bladed' - repetition of the cutting knife. sharp, painful.made up of four quatrains- each of two intercut rhyming couplets & 2 free verse stanzas.in Stevenson, the speaker focuses almost exclusively on the birth itself as a hard-fought battle. The speaker shifts from viewing her birth as a victory to the view that the all-consuming demands of the child make her the passive victim and him the active aggressor and possible victor.The son is described in apparently negative terms throughout as an objectionable 'thing' that causes pain and suffering. The poem ends in a volley of exclamations and questions, the negativity of which is perhaps undercut by the description in the second line: 'Small son'.