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Forced to Be a Domestic

  • Date Submitted: 07/12/2010 07:59 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 60.8 
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Forced to be a Domestic
Paulette Jiles’ poem “Paper Matches” acknowledges the see the struggle all women contend with for the majority of their lives. Jiles recognizes the fact that women are of no less quality than men but are expected to be empowered by them as if they were born to serve them. When one first reads the poem it simply seems as if it is stating the expectancy of women; to rule the realm of domestic duties in a willing and submissive manner. However, Paulette Jiles uses the themes of supposition primarily but later incorporates theme of power to reveal that in actuality women are empowered by their existence in the household. Jiles uses syntax, symbolism, dialogue, figurative language, and imagery as instruments to reflect the oppression of the women of her times.  
Jiles choice of spare and concise sentences combined with traditional symbols relays a message that remains important to women universally.   Throughout the poem the sentences are constructed loosely to reinforce the common events that occur in the household: “My aunts washed dishes while the uncles / squirted each other on the lawn with / garden hoses.” (Jiles, lines 1-3). Jiles primarily paints the setting which also supports her theme, the common premise for women. The speaker uses sentences like these all through the poem to continue the theme of expectation. Women are expected to communicate complete simplicity along with constant likelihood. Women often symbolize peace and organization, as if they were built and programmed to all be reliable and do what they are predicted to, much like paper matches. Jiles also uses these traditional symbols to reinforce her theme; women were anticipated to handle the duties of the household. Whereas the men where outside the home occupying their time with whatever pleased them. Jiles wrote the poem “Paper Matches” during the time of the women’s equal rights movement, and Jiles was undoubtedly fed up with the gender issues of the early 1970’s,...

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