by Rita Dove
Persephone, Falling Theme of Time
Time moves quickly and slowly. Anyone who's ever taken a calculus class knows that. In "Persephone, Falling," we see how Persephone is overly anxious to grow up, while the mother wishes she could make time stand still. The title also reminds us that everything is happening in the present—right now. At the same time, the poem reminds us that everything we do is influenced by what happened in our past.
Questions About Time
- How do you think Persephone's past experience with her mother affects her present problem?
- Do bad things happen all of a sudden or do they develop over time? What about in Persephone's case?
- Do you think the mother may have had similar experiences in her past? Is that why she's giving the daughter advice for the future?
Chew on This
The mother is stuck in the past, wanting to stop her daughter from experiencing the passage of time and the danger and heartache that accompanies it.
The mother's advice is actually dangerous advice for the future. Girls should be bold—not meek.