Each work of poetry has a specific poetic voice. It is not only the author’s style or message of the work, it is the voice of the poem itself and it is not always identified with the author.
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In fact, it is the description of the imaginative person that occurred in specific situation. It goes without saying that the voice of the poetry is expressed not only through the content of the poem, but through the languages used by the author and context.
In this paper, we are going to provide the analysis of the poetic voice of two poems Please Fire Me (1998) by Deborah Garrison and Porphyria’s Lover (1936) by Robert Browning. We will focus on how differ man and woman poetic voice.
Both of these poems are focused on the subject of the woman in the society and her relations with men. However, the poem by Deborah Garrison speaks for the woman and her vision of her work and attitude to men. As opposed to Please Fire Me, Porphyria’s Lover written from the point of view of a man and his vision of the woman. The poems are “bright’ examples of the man and woman voice in the poetry.
So, Please Fire Me describes a woman that holds the philosophy that nothing can be well with men. She is not satisfied with her work and she is indignant at what she has to do and how men treat her. He has to join men in order to own her living, but she does not want to do it as it is not her nature. She writes about her fate with disguise:
“Here comes another alpha male,
and all the other alphas
are snorting and pawing,
kicking up puffs of acrid dust” (Garrison 453)
She does not like what she does, but job is job and she works well. The voice of the woman in the poem is separated from the voice of the author, it is an individual that faces unique situation. However, the voice of the protagonist and her thought over her life can be interpreted as the voice of all women who have to adjust their life and habits to men’s lifestyle in order to survive.
The poem by Robert Browning Porphyria’s Lover also has in its focus the image of the woman, but from the point of view of a man. The voice of the poem is male and protagonist is not the author, but a man who killed his lover to keep her forever.
The speaker of the poem is a mad man, but who knows, may be love towards a woman made him loose his mind. The speaker tells justifies his violence assuming that in such way, he saved dignity and independence of his lover. The voice is calm and he is sure that he has power over the woman and can take her life:
“Porphyria worshiped me: surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.” (Browning 599)
Thus, both poems are monologues that depict the power of man over women but from different points of view. In the Please Fire Me, we can hear a woman vice and her attitude to the world in which she lives. As to the Porphyria’s Lover, we can see clearly the man’s voice and his attitude to his lover.
Browning, Robert. Porphyria’s Lover in Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Compact 7th ed. Eds. Laurie G Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
Garrison, Deborah. “Please Fire Me” in Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Compact 7th ed. Eds. Laurie G Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.