Adolescence I, II and III by Rita Dove: A Colored Woman’s Adolescence

Essay by ashmita_015College, Undergraduate October 2014

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Adolescence I, II and III by Rita Dove: A Colored Woman's Adolescence

The poem Adolescence by Rita Dove has been written in three parts and through them the growing up of a girl is portrayed. These poems have no definite structure and differ from each other in style. In Adolescence -I, we are introduced to young girls whispering behind their Grandmother's porch. We can assume that there are at least three girls amongst whom at least one is older. The name of the eldest one is Linda and she is tinged while speaking of her experience with a boy. The other two girls listen to her with utmost curiosity. Both the girls who are hearing about the experience and the on reporting it can almost feel the words, "A boy's lips are soft, as soft as a baby's skin" (Adolescence - I). This phase in life of young girls is shown as filled with amazement and awe when they hear about the opposite sex.

Also, the boy here is described as an 'object' by the girl. The listeners feel shy at the prospect of experiencing it themselves.

In the second part, Adolescence - II, the speaker has grown up and is experiencing puberty. This poem is very different from the previous one as it uses surreal imagery and one is unable to decide what exactly goes on with the girl. The scene is set in the bathroom where the girl is very anxious as she says, "sweet prickles behind my knees, the baby- breasts are alert" (Adolescence - II). The girl is shown to be uncertain of the changes in the body and imagines that three seal men come and ask her "can you feel it yet" and she is unable to...