Study Guide

Women Dissatisfaction

By Louise Bogan

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Content in the tight hot cell of their hearts
To eat dusty bread. (3-4)

The first step of change is usually dissatisfaction. Here, it seems like women are okay with their lot in life. Is the speaker pressing for a shift in attitudes here?

Their love is an eager meaninglessness
Too tense, or too lax. (15-16)

Love is usually the bee's knees. It's a thing we tend to associate with extreme satisfaction. And yet, that's not the case here. Even the usual goodness of love is ruined by "meaninglessness." Color us (and women) dissatisfied.

They hear in every whisper that speaks to them
A shout and a cry. (17-18)

It's hard to be satisfied when you're acting neurotic. These lines suggest that women are paying too much attention to the unimportant details of life (like a "whisper"). You've probably heard the cliché "Don't sweat the small stuff." Well, there's a lot of sweating going on in these lines, which is a perfect recipe for dissatisfaction.

As like as not, when they take life over their door-sills
They should let it go by. (19-20)

Is disengagement really the answer to dissatisfaction? Sure, we could shut ourselves off from the world in order to escape its daily challenges, but we don't think that would make us any more satisfied with life. This parting comment seems aimed at getting women to go out there and live life to its fullest—and on their own terms.

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