Study Guide

Women Freedom and Confinement

By Louise Bogan

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Freedom and Confinement

When it's serving up lines on the themes of freedom and confinement, "Women" leans heavily toward the confinement side of things. There's really not much freedom to be had for women in this poem. Worst of all, much of their confinement seems self-made. Again, whether you read the poem as a straightforward criticism of all women everywhere is up to you. Another option is to look past the surface a bit to find a deeper critique at work. Maybe Bogan is trying to rattle the bars a bit here, hoping to bust women out of their figurative prisons.

Questions About Freedom and Confinement

  1. Why does the poem describe women as "Content in the tight hot cell of their hearts" (3)?
  2. What other kinds of confinement are described in this poem?
  3. Who does this poem blame for the confinement of women? How can you tell?
  4. Is there any hope for women's freedom in this poem? If so, where?

Chew on This

This poem shows us that the most powerful prisons are the ones in which we put ourselves.

This poem's critique of women is actually aimed at encouraging them to free themselves from being confined by traditional gender roles.

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