Thesis Writers in South Africa

9 September 2016

Write a comparative essay in which you provide a close critical analysis of Lisa Combrinck ‘To the Reader and Eva Bezwoda’s ‘A Woman’s Hands’. You should discuss each poet’s treatment of themes relating to womanhood and the desire for freedom. Considering relevant contextual issues as and read where appropriate. University of the Witwatersrand WISEMAN SHABALALA 722901 ENGL1003 Write a comparative essay in which you provide a close critical analysis of Lisa Combrinck ‘To the Reader and Eva Bezwoda’s ‘A Woman’s Hands’.

You should discuss each poet’s treatment of themes relating to womanhood and the desire for freedom. Considering relevant contextual issues as and read where appropriate. University of the Witwatersrand WISEMAN SHABALALA 722901 ENGL1003 In analysing Lisa Combrinck’s ‘To the Reader and Eva Bezodwa’s ‘A Woman’s hands’ it is vital to take note of the thematic concept of freedom; the power to act, speak or think as one wants without restraint, and woman hood, the qualities considered to be the characteristic of a woman.

Thesis Writers in South Africa Essay Example

In this text the concept of womanhood and freedom in relation to the patriarchal system within apartheid is used to interpret the interplay among images, language, tone and other poetic devices in understanding of both poems. These poems illustrate a different struggle to the one established by the concept if apartheid; they show the conflict of interests among sexes as the struggle within the struggle. Furthermore this text will illustrate my thesis in response to the poet’s ideas; patriarchal conservation was necessary to secure racial apartheid. In line 1 of ‘To the Reader, “Why should a woman not write erotic love poems?

This potent rhetorical opening line draws the reader (one that reads in context) to free his mind from stereotypes and interact with the poem within Lisa’s perception. In Eva Bezwoda’s poem, (line 3)”My hands are tired of holding”, her idea of letting go is in sync with Lisa’s line 1 as both women express the desire to be free. Line 1 of ‘To the Reader’ (as well as line 3 of ‘A Woman’s hands’) can be observed as polemic criticisms to patriarchal conservation. In this repute it is imperative to understand the degree at which gender apartheid participated in the progression of the racial apartheid dispensation in South Africa.

The male role was generally believed to be superior to the women’s role to the degree that women were paid far less than men even when they did the same job and women worked longer hours for so called ‘women related jobs’ e. g. baking without benefits. The idea of woman oppression was always under the shadow of racial oppression and these poems address this issue by suggesting that the gender struggle is more important than the racial struggle. Now that the text has covered the contextual issues of the poems understanding these women’s ideas in context makes their work more coherent.

The style in which both these writers convey their message is fairly similar to point that the reader would feel like they are having conversation with the speaker in regards to the fact that these poems are written in the first person voice. This idea is emphasised by the use of free verse (in the sense that there is no structure to follow the reader can read the poem without the technicality of rhythm diverting his attention from the content) and pause in some places to allow the reader to reflect on their understanding on certain lines.

In Lisa’s poem she places words such as ‘oppressor’ and ‘wounds’ on separate lines independently to Challenge the reader’s perspective of these words in context. It seems like she wants the reader to reflect on these words in the sense of a different struggle, the struggle she introduces in line nine; the struggle for love. Lisa mentions the racial struggle as a reference tool for her argument where the oppressor is the entire system and its effects on the minds of people in society. She infers hat freedom is not only a physical state of being but rather that it is internalised power influenced by the power of love, furthermore she deepens her argument by suggesting that this power lies in woman and that men should, along with the entire system, should reconsider their concept of womanhood and interpret it in its fullest capacity and value. In Eva’s poem one could suggest that the idea of freedom connects with Lisa’s idea based on the fact that she wants to extricate herself from the status quo of womanhood in her society completely.

She argues against the traditional role of a woman in the apartheid regime and has a strong desire to free herself from all types of bondage and obligation even those related to spiritualty (lines 6 and 7). The use of free verse, when paying attention to the poetic devices used in these poems, works as a tool that displays rebellion and the desire for freedom. In Lisa‘s poem she makes it clear that freedom cannot be achieved without the realisation of the woman’s value and that the struggle will indefinitely continue unless people spare some time to love.

The idea of erotic love can also be included in the idea of people loving one another because, according to ‘To the Reader’ in ( lines 11 -12) in this activity a sense of freedom is realised and expressed. Within the idea of freedom Lisa also suggests that everyone is held captive by hate because “No one is in love with the struggle” (line 13). Lisa’s thesis can be abridged in this idea; love is the quintessence of freedom and women are the essence of love.

The use of free verse in Eva Bezwoda is intrinsically rebellious and as extreme as Lisa’s (in reference to erotic love poems) as she goes against gender apartheid, traditional perspectives on freedom and even biblical views of women. The speaker insists on being detached from all forms of bondage set at by social, spiritual and political ideals. She has an extreme perspective in terms of freedom in this poem in contrast to the other poem she feels no need to redefine the role of a woman in society she purely rebels and rejects any form of reform to the status quo.

In summation she would rather have no capabilities to perform the things woman are expected to perform. In both poems the speakers used personification. However it is interesting that in observance one sees that these poets use alliteration to extricate themselves allusively from the personified actions even though they speak in the first person voice. Lisa Combrinck (in lines 3-8) personifies her poems suggesting that the poems have the ability to shape words into slogans, salve-covered swabs, spears etc. to carry a message across.

With this poetic device Lisa Combrinck detaches herself as the writer and suggest that the poem in its personified abilities produced the poetry related to the racial struggle; in this instance she could be saying that the struggle poetry is written as a means to be relevant to society at the time, however in relation to the struggle she, out of the faculties of self, wrote this poem in contrast to the poems about the struggle as her concept of the actual struggle the one she personally views to be more important. In this poem she surmises that women can eliminate apartheid with the power of femininity; the power of love.

Eva Bezwoda personifies hands and deliberately speaks of them as their own entity. In this manner she suggests that women are not definable by the work of their hands and therefore she also refuses to connect herself to her hands and her work because those very facets of the ideology of womanhood in apartheid ultimately defined the woman in society. The speaker personifies the hands and suggests they would still function without her because she was never one with them in a figurative sense. Even though both these women put up strong arguments I believe it is important to understand the struggle in all its aspects.

To a certain degree love could influence a little bit of change amongst individuals. However the role of men being patriarchs in the apartheid dispensation is compatible to the survival of the state as a whole. On no grounds do I aim at criticising the poet’s views on women in gender apartheid, however I wish to mention that women are generally known to be caring (this stereotype can be found in most women) and if women were given the power of liberty in its fullness they would probably be destructive to the progression of apartheid.

If the women showed compassion and dismantled the struggle some black people would avenge their suffering there possibly would have been a civil war seeing the extinction of the white man in South Africa. Patriarchal conservation was a vital tool to the survival of the white demographic and the control over the black group. Women were deliberately oppressed not because they were inferior to men but because they were a threat to the apartheid regime and would comply with it.

I, just like Lisa, believe that women are powerful and valuable however the struggle needed to be prolonged to a time when its end would have peaceful results. My thesis can be explained with these words; patriarchy was necessary. My thesis might be in direct contrast with the desire for freedom in woman, however, my thesis could probably hold weight in the regard that freedom is a state of mind and that the freedom of mind is superior to the physical state of liberty.

Black people in the struggle were held captive in their minds and the only way they could mentally break out was through the theories of intellectuals like Steve Biko. People like Steve were least and had a controllable effect on government, in contrast, if everybody was given freedom especially women more black people could have been empowered to the degree that they would overturn the Government. The theme of freedom is interpreted in different ways by both speakers however the idea of womanhood is interpreted in a similar sense. Both poems address patriarchal conservation and its effects on the role of the woman.

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