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The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter

The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter


by Ezra Pound

The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter Women and Femininity Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #1

While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead (1)

Let's assume that this haircut is typical of children in this culture. It's not very stylish, but functional. The haircut also suggests that these children haven't yet reached puberty and fallen into the strict separations between feminine and masculine, so their attraction is innocent puppy love.

Quote #2

Two small people, without dislike or suspicion. (6)

Notice how the boy and girl remain neutral in many ways, and are only called "people" rather than "children" or "boy and girl." This emphasizes the purity of their childhood love before adult concerns, like money and loyalty, may have entered the picture.

Quote #3

At fourteen I married My Lord you. (7)

Some of you may find this to be sexist, in that the man is portrayed as the lord of this woman, but we should be sensitive to cultural differences and understand that the original poem was written, oh, about 1,300 years ago.

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