Analysis on Footbinding by Patricia Beer

4 April 2017

The title of the poem firstly brings to the mind the idea of traditional Chinese practice of binding the feet of young Chinese girls. As such this is closely associated with immense suffering tortune and pain. This is carries outnumber the belief that small feet appear more attractive to prospective husband and as a result of this the women have to have her feet binded and her bones crushed to stunt growth.

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Another insight which can be gain from the title is the loss of freedom and feelings of entrapment which occurs as an outcome of footbinding. This is because it leaves female with deformed feet which are unable to support her weigr and this leaves her immobile and often helpless. From the above information the title sets a subdued tone right from the start. This may be seen by ‘ a small shelf of books hanging in the shadow’.

Books hanging in the shadow and hidden from view gives off the feeling that the books are not articles which are forthright and honest. Rather these books present a sense of mysterious and dark appearane. The persona has never seen her grandmother reading them but ‘ she handed them out like medicine’ medicine is usually taken as a cure for illness and the fact that the books are served as healing medication provokes further sense of mysterious aura from the books.

Next the resenment of the persona highlighted by the poem’s resentful tone may be seen from the phrase ‘ they planned on twisting me’ and the violent usage it verbs like ‘agony’. Next the poet employs the use of imagery to set the tone and heaviness of the poem. A visual image is conjured up by the poet where the literal pain of footbinding is illustrated by ‘ the crackling of the maiden’s bones… the whining of her sinews’ which serves as an unpleasant reminder of footbinding.

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