Deconstruction of Adrienne Rich's "Power"Ã¯Â¿Â½ This poem "Power"Ã¯Â¿Â½ is describing all the power that runs good and bad throughout our society. The bottle of medicine dug up in the first stanza symbolizes something very powerful. This power was useful one hundred years ago when there were not many cures for diseases. This power helped our society it saved peoples lives. Therefore this "perfect"Ã¯Â¿Â½ bottle of medicine is a good power.
The second stanza is telling a story about something totally opposite of Marie Curie a lady who died trying to purify something. The speaker must have read all this out of a tabloid. There are many powerful words in the second stanza. The "backhoe divulged"Ã¯Â¿Â½ meaning it dug up the earth. A backhoe is a very powerful tool of machinery. The backhoe dug a "crumbling flank of earth."Ã¯Â¿Â½ This "flank"Ã¯Â¿Â½ is just a small piece of our large earth.
A very powerful machine used to dig out such a small thing. This sentence is ironic. The bottle of medicine was a very powerful device a long time ago. Fever was a life threatening disease. The doctor who had the cure was a very powerful man. Winter is another powerful word in this stanza. Winter was the harshest time of the year back then. Everyone got fever from the coldness. The person who had the cure for fever had the tonic for life. In the past there were not specific medicines for specific diseases. There were cure-all's, an elixir that could help people heal anything from a broken bone to leprosy. This cure-all was a powerful element to our society back then.
Next is the explanation of how a lady was terminated by a powerful substance. Marie Curie worked to purify radiation. She wanted to make it clean and safe. To purify water, you take all of the other elements out, so all there is left is water. She was trying to take all the harmful elements out of the radiation. While she was trying to achieve this, the radiation was working to kill her the whole time.
Again this whole stanza is full of power. Radiation is a powerful source of energy it killed Marie Curie. It killed many people in Hiroshima, from the atomic bomb set off there. "She died a famous woman"Ã¯Â¿Â½ everyone wants to be famous when they die they want to be remembered. Like they had served some important purpose in their life. The speaker said, "denying her wounds"Ã¯Â¿Â½ twice. When someone is wounded they are restricted. Marie's wounds made her a less powerful person physically, but not in Marie's mind. She always knew she had done something great.
The first two stanzas are important. They made Adrienne Rich think about Marie Curie. The bottle was kept perfect throughout the years. It was never harmed by outside influences, not like Marie Curie. Marie Curie's body became frail from all of the radiation surrounding her. She could not last one hundred years and still be perfect. Marie Curie always denied her wounds. Her power was all in her mind. Her power all came from her achievements. She may have been dealing with a powerful substance, but that did not make her powerful. Her thoughts made her powerful, not what she did, but what she knows she accomplished. She was the first person to purify radiation. Marie Curie would not approve of Adrienne Rich's poem. Adrienne is telling how Marie did in fact die from the radiation, how "her wounds came from the same source as her power."Ã¯Â¿Â½ Marie always denied her wounds. Marie was powerful.