Feminism Essay Example: Kasischke's Poem “Look”

Feminism Essay Example: Kasischke's Poem “Look”
📌Category: Literature, Poem
📌Words: 902
📌Pages: 4
📌Published: 07 April 2021

Violent screams and Catastrophic anger echoes the home, street, and city, nurturing a place of disagreement and misery, the young daughter just watches; across America, many households consist of unhappy and toxic marriages that most of the time are fostered by one partner creating issues and dominating over the other spouse. Thus, creating mental exhaustion, deprivation of character, and high or low compliance via the non-dominant person. In Laura Kasischke's Poem "Look," an idea develops that toxic households result in a lack of feministic power, which causes women to become submissive to their spouse and refrain from expressing personal thoughts. 

How Geology Is Used in the Poem

Throughout the entirety of the poem, Kasischke uses geology to compare pressure to mental growth. In the first stanza, diamonds are referenced to answer an undefined question about the mother's rage as "Yes, it is diamonds now, (Line 2)" referring to her rage. Over many years, diamonds are formed by rocks being pressurized in a dark, confined area under the earth's surface. Like this poem, the mother's rage is built up internally by many strenuous life events. Over time, this constant pressure from misery results in strength and beauty for the mother.

A second jewel used to compare the mother's rage is pearls, in a list of what seems to be traumatizing life events, "It is pearls, public humiliation, an angry dime-store clerk… (Lines 2 and 3)" the word pearls is added in the beginning to create a parallel between the jewel and events. Similar to diamonds, pearls are formed from irritation in a dark clamshell, and a small bubble begins to grow over the top, later turning into a pearl. These gems are chosen both share a common characteristic of appearing delicate but in actuality, are stronger than cement. Pearls were put with a list of her life events to express that by covering up and leaving behind issues, over time, one will progress mentally into a stronger and more beautiful human being.  

Light Imagery as a Literary Technique

Secondly, the author uses light imagery to exemplify the mother's lack of attention, voice, and power in her life. To begin, the first word of the poem and the title is "Look (Line 1)," a common word used to obtain someone's attention. The word exemplifies the mother trying to be noticed by her husband and potentially family. To relate back to the author's use of jewels in this poem, both diamonds and pearls are formed in dark and confined areas, just like how the mother mentally goes about living her life, always in the dark. In the last stanza, it states, "followed him around the house, and every time he turned a light on, she turned it off (Lines 12 and 13)."   The message taken away from this is, because the mother pertains to a low position of power, her only act to revolt against the father and gain attention is by turning off a light when he turns it on and following the father around in hopes of being noticed because of this disruption caused by the mother. Throughout the poem, the idea that the mother lives in the dark mentally, physically, and emotionally is continuously present. 

To further examine the mothers lack of power, it is shown through the little amount of her own thoughts presented in the poem. A popular opinion is given about the lands beyond ours; however, the mother proceeds to say, "But logic tells us there must be operas, there have to be car accidents cloaked in that fog (Lines 7 and 8)." This is the one sentence in the poem; the mother states her own opinion that visibly goes against the common idea. However, just after she says this, it states, she-just kept her thoughts to herself. She just- followed him around the house," while it is apparent the mother does have her individual thoughts, her weakness guards against her expressing them, and she just keeps them to herself."

In this quote, it is seen that the word "just (Line 11)" is displayed twice to identify the actions as simplistically done. The mother is trying to save herself from a problem otherwise being caused if she goes against the father through submission to him. A second notable example from this quote is the sentence structure. At first, the dash is placed between her and just, and the second time the dash is placed after "she just-" to portray a sense of stuttering and act of trying to speak but not having the ability. This relates back to the mother being unable to present her thoughts because of her weakness. 

The Final

In closing, the poem creates a visible understanding of how the mother yearns for feministic power from her husband. This abstinence of power is seen through the mother suffering from an insufficient amount of attention, going about life in darkness, and a confined mentality. However, the diamonds and pearls are one example that symbolizes that the pressure, from the mother's rage, overtime forms a sense of mental strength and beauty component. At the end of the first stanza, Kasischke uses god to do two humanistic actions, one being, “God just spit on a rock, and it became a geologist (Line 8 and 9).” The second being, “God punched a hole in the drywall on earth and pulled out of that darkness another god (Line 9 and 10).” It is apparent that God is the father, showing a position of having the highest position of power by the two examples. The first being, he has the capability of performing a simplistic task and creating something much greater. Secondly the darkness the God pulls out of the earth symbolizes the father has the capability of relinquishing the mother from her mentality shadowed by darkness. 


Laura Kasischke. “Look.” Poetry Foundation, October 2006,(https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?volume=189&issue=1&page=21)


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