Study Guide

Women Good Relations

By Louise Bogan

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Good Relations

Love: exciting and new, are we right? Not so much in this poem—it's more like wrongheaded and meaningless. Throughout the poem, women are indirectly and directly compared to men, and they're also criticized for the ways in which they relate to the opposite sex. In our speaker's eyes, women can't even love in the right way. That's some pretty harsh criticism. It's also a symbol of women's more general failings in the eyes of the speaker.

  • Lines 11-12: How can you use kindness against yourself? This figurative expression indicates that women are pretty much spinning their wheels by being nice to men. The men don't pay any attention to it, according to the speaker. So that birthday cake someone just baked is just a bunch of wasted energy—you know, with frosting on top. Mmm, futility…
  • Lines 15-16: Our speaker seems to see every woman as the anti-Goldilocks of love. They either fret too much in their loving ("too tense") or don't care enough ("too lax"). As a result, they can't be in a relationship in any meaningful way.
  • Lines 17-18: These lines don't mention relationships directly, but they do suggest that women make too much of unimportant things (like whispers). We're guessing that personality trait is not going to set you up for a successful relationship experience. Nope, you're probably just cruising for a never-ending series of arguments. Good times.

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