Alice Walkers a woman is not a potted plant

Essay by lovely_ayashaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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Calloway, Ayasha

Eng 102 - 010

Feb - 19 - 04

Explication of Alice Walkers "a woman is not a potted plant"

Walker writes this poem using a potted plant as metaphor describing a woman's role in the 20th century. The speaker in Walker's poem describes the great depression of women during this point in time, by unfolding the difference between a potted plant and a woman. The 20th century was a time in which women were expected to do as her man said, not as he did. After World Wars I and II the expected roles of men and woman began to change; women began to wake up.

Women started noticing their rights and positions, with their new economic power. Is a woman a potted plant? No, she is a human being just as a man. In "a woman is not a potted plant" the speaker claims women's worth.

She uses the metaphor of a potted plant to say that her sex, her race, her country or her man does not bind a woman. Walker writes, "A woman is not / a potted plant / her leaves trimmed / to the contours of her sex" (ll.6-10). The speaker is saying that like a potted plant, a woman is confined by her sex, due to the fact that a woman can't change her god given sexual organs, just as a plant can't change its way of life. However, a woman is not confined mentally, emotionally, socially or spiritually. She is no different than man in that sense.

The speaker means that a woman is rebelling against her race in the traditional social structure through words like" espaliered / against the fences / of her race"(ll.14-16). Walker writes "against the fences / of her race /her country / her...