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Bottled up Bitterness in Carolyn Kizer´s Poem Bitch Essay

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Nearly everyone has had that dreadful encounter with the last person they want to see in places such as the supermarket, dry cleaners, or the movie theaters. What follows are a few awkward moments of strained conversation while one looks for signs of bitter regret in the eyes of his or her ex. Carolyn Kizer’s poem “Bitch” depicts such a meeting. The poem guides the reader to reality of what really occurs deep beyond conversation while seeing an ex. Through the use of personification, diction, and tone, Kizer illustrates the speaker’s strife with feelings of animosity, repression, and desire for reconciliation.
The plot is centered around a random, but possibly planned meeting of two lovers.
During the awkward reunion, the speaker fights an internal battle with her feelings. There is something inside of her trying to claw its way out, and the bottled up bitterness threatens to rip its way to the surface. Her suppressed emotions are personified in the form of a disobedient female dog, hence the name “Bitch”. When the woman is approached by the man, she refers to herself as a canine by saying things like “don’t start growling” (2). The command demonstrates the speaker attempting to restrain her feelings like trying to constrain a belligerent dog. She feigns a cool demeanor, and as her voice is saying one thing, the voice inside her is getting furious and yearns to express her true feelings, but fears her stability will be questioned.
Throughout the poem, the speaker is trying to alleviate the “Bitch” from within by persuading herself that the man no longer poses a threat, but as the memories come rushing back to her, it becomes more challenging. She starts reminiscing about her past relationship in lines 19-27. The dog is no...


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...feel insecure with herself. Coming to the conclusion that she is not good enough for him, she writes “He couldn’t have taken you with him/ You were too demonstrative, too clumsy” (28-29). In the end, much to the chagrin of the canine female, the human female restraints her temper and ends up casting harmless words in the man’s direction : “Goodbye! Goodbye! Nice to have seen you again” (33).
The speaker’s rocky encounter with her ex-lover is captured through personification, diction, and tone. Overall, the poem recaps the inner conflicts that the speak endures while speaking to her ex-lover. She ponders through stages of the past and present. Memories of how they were together and the present and how she feels about him. Never once did she broadcast her emotions towards him, demonstrating the strong facade on the outside, but the crumbling structure on the inside.


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