The Choosing By Liz Lochhead
"The Choosing" by Liz Lochhead is a poem which presents a very common situation and makes you consider deeper issues.
The content depicts two girls who unwittingly make choices in school, unaware of consequences, and, because of them, end up drifting off their separate ways because of such choices, and the choices made for them by their families. Both girls were clever, but only one was allowed to stay on at school. Their paths cross ten years later, their lives totally different. Verse one describes the two girls, who were best friends and intellectual equals: "First equal, equally proud". "Equal" is mentioned twice in the first paragraph, to show that the two girls were equal in every way, except arithmetic, where Mary led. They both won book prizes.
In the second verse we find out that Mary's family have eventually moved to a house with a cheaper rent.
Mary would not be going to a senior school, as her father did not "believe" in educating girls, uniforms, or any of that "nonsense".
In the third verse we find out the two girls stayed in the "same houses, different homes", suggesting that they lived in the same kind of house but their home lives were vastly different. Home was where the choices were being made: Mary's father didn't believe in High school education, "especially for girls," or in "forking out for uniforms". So her father unconsciously, even casually, narrowed Mary's future life down.
Some ten years later the two girls meet again. The person speaking suddenly notices Mary on a bus with a man who is clearly her husband; he has "eyes for no-one else but Mary" The poet envies her a little, as she carries her library books home, as Mary has "her arms...