Analysis of Alice Walker’s Poem, A Woman Is Not a Potted Plant

December 4, 2020 by Essay Writer

Women and Strength

The poem that I have chosen to type my essay over is a very strong poem. It gives a lot of insight to how certain people feel about certain topics. The poem is in a way, a voice for those who can’t share it alone. The poem, “ A Woman is Not a Potted Plant”, by Alice Walker is all that I just described and more. The poem uses many literary elements to appeal to readers. Alice Walker used literary devices such as transition, metaphors, as well as repetition to express her thoughts on the strong women in this world and the rights they hold.

“A Woman is not a Potted Plant”. The title of the poem in itself tells so much about what the poem will be about. From the title the audience can instantly tell that the author, Alice Walker is somewhat feminist. If one were to interpret the title, they would think that “A Woman is Not a Potted Plant” means, women are independent and strong and they are capable of doing anything. Throughout the poem the audience can come to tell that the poem is one giant metaphor. I believe this style of writing is not only clever but it is inspiring in the sense that it forces the reader to give the subject/topic deep thought. The lines, “a woman/is wilderness Unbounded”(28), is one of the strongest metaphors in the poem. Walker compares a woman to the wilderness to send the message that a woman cannot be tamed and is capable of much hence the word “unbounded”. Alice Walker wanted to make the repetition known throughout the poem. She repeated the same thing throughout most of the poem stating, “A Woman is Not a Potted Plant”. To me, this repetition has an effect in a way that makes me want to appreciate women for what they do and who they are. It makes me realize exactly just how strong women are.

There is a very important literary technique that Alice Walker uses in the poem that very few notice. From the very start of the poem, Walker uses repetition and says, “A Woman is Not a Potted Plant”. The audience gets familiar with this pattern until a certain point in the poem where Walker reverts to just saying “A woman is”. This is the powerful literary technique of transition. Transition is normally used to send a deep strong message to the audience reading the poem. In Walker’s case, she uses the transition to send the message saying not what a woman isn’t, but what she is. This is the technique Walker used that I enjoyed the most. It made me really open my eyes and have a new understanding for the topic. To be quite honest, I didn’t realize that the poem was initially talking about what women aren’t until the transition came to life. Once the transition was revealed, I had a better understanding of the poem, more metaphors made sense, and the message spoke to me.

With the three key literary elements that Alice Walker used in her marvelous poem, she sent out a message that does not only appeal or speak to women, but it speaks to all who have yet to appreciate women for all they do and all they are. “A Woman is Not a Potted Plant” has very strong potential due to the powerful topic on women, and the poem met up to that potential. This poem was clearly created to give clarity to those who were blind in all that women do, and give pride to those strong women that surround us all. All women are held to a higher standard due to the works of Alice Walker and her poem “A Woman is Not a Potted Plant”.

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