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The last day of the year

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The last day of the year

In the poem ?The Last Day of the Year,? Annette Von Droste-H'lshoff uses imagery and references to God to express the coming of the end of the year. The poem, however, seems to reflect the impending freedom of women from a patriarchal society. This poem's imagery and outside references suggest that it is in fact a plea for the end of the suffering of women, and that the coming of their empowerment is near. The three things that I will use to prove this point are how one year represents the time of women's oppression, how she speaks directly to men in the poem, and how she makes divine references to represent the freedom of women.

Droste-Hulshoff says in line one of this poem, ?The year at its turn? (Droste-Hulshoff, 1). Throughout this poem, she uses the year to represent a period of time that is coming to an end. Referring to the introduction in the World Reader, Droste-Hulshoff was a woman ?yearning for the freedom to be herself? (Caws, 2002). This forces the reader to consider that she is using the time period of the year as the time of women's oppression. She feels that the time of the oppression is coming to an end. ?I wait in stern silence, O deep night! Is there an open eye?? (Droste-Hulshoff 5-7) is one example of how she considers the era of women's oppression at its end. Another example is the following quote: ? My life breaks down somewhere in the circle of this year. Long have I known decay. Yet my heart in love glows under the huge stone of passion? (Droste-Hulshoff 37-42). She has felt this persecution for all of her life, but she still prospers as a individual and waits with short patience for her time to come.

At one point in this poem, Droste-Hulshoff speaks to an unidentified second party. ?You, child of sin, has there not been a hollow, secret quiver each day in your savage chest, as the polar winds reach across the stones, breaking, possessed with slow and insistent rage?? (Droste-Hulshoff 24-31). Continuing under the assumption that this poem was created to show the iniquities of sexism, one could put men in place of you in the preceding excerpt. I believe this to be a likely case because of the references to ?your savage chest? (Droste-Hulshoff 27) and the words speaking ...

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