Now Let No Charitable Hope by Elinor Wylie Poem Analysis Essay
In the second line of the second stanza Wylie writes “ I am, being woman, hard beset”. This phrase suggests that being born a woman it is already certain to come with distress. The word “beset” gives the image of being surrounded and troubled by hardship, this also gives the image that being a woman is like being in a cage. This metaphoric cage is given by society. Before this line, Wylie writes: “I was, being human, born alone” This suggests that being born a human already comes with the hardship of loneliness and lack of affection but on top of that she is a woman, which depicts that there is a whole other set of struggle that comes with just being a woman. Wylie also uses the word “was” (I was, being human, born alone), this suggests that she does not view a woman as human but something different. This could come from society labelling women as inferior.
In the third line of the second stanza Wylie emphasises on the suffering of a woman by writing: “I live by squeezing from a stone”. This paints a very miserable image. The word “squeezing” suggests how hard she tries to get something good out of life. She tries so hard to wring out affection, respect, happiness but she gets nothing. She tries to get things that she should have but has to fight for because she’s a woman. The word “stone” renders the image of life being uncompromising and unbending to her. You cannot get anything out of a stone and the same with life in that context. The “stone” could also suggest men and her experience with them. She has tried to obtain love and joy but men are men and they’re unbending to a woman's feelings. Women are completely disregarded.
In the third and final stanza Wylie writes: “In masks outrageous and austere”. This phrase illustrates that a woman’s life is like a masquerade ball albeit a very desolate ball. The word “austere” elucidates how women deal with their pain and emotions alone and how they have to suppress them with a mask—a strict mask. The society and men do not care for the person behind the mask and only look at the surface. In other words the “masks” that women are demanded to wear is also a cage.
Collectively, it can be seen by the words Wylie uses such as: hard beset, stone and austere; conjures the image that a woman's life is rigid. They are being controlled and oppressed as seen with the words “austere” and “stone”. This also displays that it is very hard to figuratively breathe as a woman. Women are constantly stuck inside themselves, unable to live life the way they want because they’re “women”.