Linda herself maybe in a diary reflecting on

Linda Pastan’s short and ironic poem “Marks” uses a sarcastic tone and a controlling metaphor to illustrate the discontent of the speaker, who is a wife and a mother. The title, “Marks” is the controlling or extending metaphor in the poem. The setting is in a household but Pastan use of metaphor compares life to school. The speaker in the poem feels unappreciated for all the work she does in the house. The poem opens with “My husband gives me an A for last night’s supper.” Pastan informal diction could symbolizes that the speaker may be writing this about herself maybe in a diary reflecting on herself or her day. The speaker family her “husband,” her “son,” and her “daughter,” all grades her based on what she does like a student is graded in school.  They grade her differently suggesting the multiple standards the speaker must meet. The metaphors suggest that the speaker feels she is taken for granted by her family. She is being judged by her family on her performance in the house. Instead of receiving thanks and praise for all she does as a mother and a wife. The tone of the poem is also emotionless lacking the speaker feelings or thoughts until the end. Pastan shifts tone in The last line of the poem “Wait till they learn I’m dropping out.” leads the reader to assume that she has effectively evaluated and reflected on herself and her life and has decided to change. Her saying that she is “dropping out” could means she is changing, she is leaving the family, she is terminating her duties as mother and wife, and looking for another career. She is “dropping out” of school or in this case life. Pastan word choice is effective to conveys that it is important to appreciate members of our family for themselves not for what they are able to do or to provide. Learn to appreciate and love who you have before they are gone, literally. The last line could also mean she is committing suicide or killing herself because of the comparison of her life to school, and if life is graded dropping out is suicide. It shows the speaker discontent and frustrations with this grading system forced on her and she no longer wants to be judge like this. These average marks and the pressure her family puts on her, leads the speaker to a dark ending. Dropping out represents her committing suicide. The pressure of being graded in every aspect of life has become too much for the speaker to handle. The speaker could represent Pastan herself or women everywhere who are tired of being judged all the time.


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