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Essay on Millay's Relationships in Sonnet xxxi

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Millay's Relationships in Sonnet xxxi

 
     In his 1967 book, Edna St. Vincent Millay, James Gray writes that "the theme of all her [Millay's] poetry is the search for the integrity of the individual spirit" (Gray 6). While searching for the uniqueness of the individual spirit, Millay's poetry, especially "Sonnet xxxi", becomes interested in how the individual works when it is involoved in a relationship and must content with the power struggles which occur within that relationship. Power struggles occur on many levels, but Millay works in "Sonnet xxxi" with the decision of a partner to deny her individuality in order to provide harmony within the couple. Ultimately, the poem demonstrates that happiness cannot be found when one partner chooses to deny themselves and their individuality.

 

In "Sonnet xxxi", Millay's woman mentally confronts her husband after he has insulted her intelligence by taking a book away from her and commenting, "What a big book for such a little head!" The woman complies with his insistance that she entertain him by primping and preening in fr...


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