English Society and Literature

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Book Report/Review
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One of the first things that strikes the reader on coming across Amy Lowell's poem, "Patterns" for the first time is the unusual application of imagery and free verse as well as its loosely repetitive, yet cleverly effective rhythmic pattern which fits the theme and the title to perfection.

Introduction


It ends in a searing cry, a defiant question against the imposed patterns of patriarchal society, patterns which allow for the senseless destruction of war, but which in Lowell's time did not allow a woman a sense of pride in her own femininity. At the same time there is a comparison with the patterns of nature, not only of a winter that will follow summer but of the daffodils and swills which are free to sway with the breeze and feel the beatitude of nature, from which the brocade insulates the "softness of a woman".
The narrator is a society woman of Lowell's time, a perfect combination of fashion and propriety expected of women in those times: "In my stiff, brocaded gown./With my powdered hair and jewelled fan, I too am a rare/Pattern". Her own description of her clothes is significant, her hair powdered to perfection and jewelled fan festoon the conventional female image of a decorative appendage, and she is well aware of it.
And it does not stop there. ...
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