Housewife

American poet Anne Sexton (see here) was born on 9 November 1928

Housewife

Some women marry houses.
It’s another kind of skin; it has a heart,
a mouth, a liver and bowel movements.
The walls are permanent and pink.
See how she sits on her knees all day,
faithfully washing herself down.
Men enter by force, drawn back like Jonah
into their fleshy mothers.

A woman is her mother.
That’s the main thing.

Housewife” by Anne Sexton a merciless denunciation of the role in which the society of men has confined women
Pondering over the traditional role of women in society, Sexton believes that a married woman is married to her husband and her house, and maybe obliged to break with her past to face a new life entirely devoted to her family.
While women “marry houses,” they also become the house in some sense. Its various parts correspond to the organs of their bodies. A woman is imprisoned in flesh-toned walls, among which she kneels as she scrubs the floor, simultaneously “washing herself down.”
Both woman and house are often considered the property of the husband and thus she must be entirely submissive to his wishes. Seen as an object of possession , she is expected to please her husbands and attend to her domestic duties.
The sexual imagery portrayed in these lines is aggressive and the words “enter by force” suggest that rape may be forced upon her.
Like Jonah, the Old Testament prophet swallowed by a whale, the male householder penetrates a woman-centred home like an incestuous son returning to his mother’s womb.
The speaker stresses the oneness of women, in particular of mother and daughter, saying that women are their mothers so they have difficulty separating their own selves from the other. This also suggests that men usually marry women who have similar qualities as their mothers as a way to ensure that they will be cared for as she did.

Il 9 novembre 1928 nasceva la poetessa americana Anne Sexton (vedi qui)

Casalinga

Alcune donne sposano la casa.
È un altro tipo di pelle; ha un cuore,
una bocca, un fegato e movimenti intestinali.
Le pareti sono permanenti e rosa.
Guarda come sta in ginocchio tutto il giorno,

a strofinar se stessa per fedeltà.
Gli uomini entrano con la forza, risucchiati come Giona
in questa madre di carne.
Una donna è madre di se stessa.
Questo è ciò che conta

(trad. L.Z.)

“Housewife/Casalinga” di Anne Sexton è la spietata denuncia del ruolo in cui la società degli uomini ha relegato le donne.
Riflettendo sul ruolo tradizionale delle donne nella società, la Sexton ritiene che una donna sposata è sposata con suo marito e la sua casa, e forse obbligata a rompere con il passato per affrontare una nuova vita dedicata alla famiglia.
Mentre le donne “sposano la casa”, in un certo senso diventano loro stesse una casa le cui varie parti corrispondono agli organi del loro corpo. La donna è imprigionata in muri color carne, tra cui si mette carponi mentre pulisce il pavimento e simultaneamente lavando se stessa per fedeltà.
Donna e casa sono spesso considerate proprietà del marito per cui lei deve essere completamente sottomessa ai suoi desideri: vista come un oggetto di possesso, ci si aspetta che compiaccia il marito e compia i suoi doveri domestici.
L’immaginario sessuale rappresentato in queste righe è aggressivo e le parole “entra con la forza” suggeriscono l’imposizione di uno stupro.
Come Giona, il profeta dell’Antico Testamento inghiottito da una balena, il capofamiglia maschio penetra in una casa imperniata sulla donna come un figlio incestuoso che torna nel grembo della madre.
Viene anche sottolineata l’unità delle donne, in particolare di madre e figlia, dicendo che le donne sono le loro madri, quindi hanno difficoltà a separarsi una dall’altra. Ciò suggerisce inoltre che gli uomini di solito sposano donne che hanno qualità simili a quelle della madre per assicurarsi di venire accuditi come faceva lei.

130 thoughts on “Housewife

      1. Change can only be brought when someone decides to put a light on the problem so that others can see the truth. It’s a great effort from the poet’s side and thank you for sharing this with us. You thought right.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yeah that’s wonderful as you say …wish you a blessed day ahead of you may all your wishes and prayers being answered by God amen……I am so sorry for stumbling into your comment box without no permission from you I didn’t meant to intrude into your comments i found truth in your comments cause not everyone is able to express the truth cause we are all afraid forgetting we are the government your words that attracted me to reply 🙏.. Keep on saying the truth is encouraging not everyone will agree cause the truth is always bitter if will say the truth it will always set us free… Wish you a long life with you and and your family amen …

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    1. But men also are still lost.who do speak for men now for they cannot speak lest they hurt there ego.anyways I really the writers way of penning .and must attest those who are still rooted t o culture still have it at heart that a woman is a posse

      Liked by 1 person

      1. eh… è come dire a un padrone che dovrà rinunciare al suo schiavo. L’ira funesta di chi deve spendere il triplo o il quadruplo per gli stessi servizi. (oh, l’ho detto? 😉 )

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah that’s wonderful as you say …wish you a blessed day ahead of you may all your wishes and prayers being answered by God amen……I am so sorry for stumbling into your comment box without no permission from you I didn’t meant to intrude into your comments i found truth in your comments cause not everyone is able to express the truth cause we are all afraid forgetting we are the government your words that attracted me to reply 🙏.. Keep on saying the truth is encouraging not everyone will agree cause the truth is always bitter if will say the truth it will always set us free… Wish you a long life with you and and your family amen …

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Its okay no worries, glad you stop by 🤗
        Yes truth does set us free and I believe in speaking the truth then sugar coating words, thank you so much for your kind words 😊
        Wish you a long healthy life as well, stay blessed 😇

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Powerful post! I like how women are now brave enough to challenge status quo and live a life of dignity. I’m always thanking a million Gods that I was born in just the right generation. We’re living to see women marrying not just their house, but their passions, which is wonderful.
    Absolutely loved this post! 💗

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thank you infinitely for your words full of enthusiasm., dear Sam. You are right, things have been changing in recent times, but I think there is still a long way to go for every woman to reach a dignity equal to that of men.❣️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Questo è stato molto triste e molto vero! Solo ora le cose stanno cominciando a cambiare… ma in certe parti del mondo è ancora così. Leggere questa poesia si sente come una scossa che ci fa scuotere dalla testa ai piedi! Bella denuncia, molto coraggiosa questa poetessa americana. Onore ad Anne Sexton ! E grazie a te per aver tradotto le sue parole!!!! 🙂

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    1. Hai ragione, è una denuncia coraggiosa che ritrae un atteggiamento non ancora scomparso del tutto
      Anche oggigiorno, da noi, quanti sono gli episodi tragici che dimostrano come la donna sia considerata un possesso dell’uomo🌹🌹🌹

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Brilliant! What’s not to love about Anne Sexton. My favourite poem of hers is “Her Kind”. Perfect for this time of the year as daylight hours shorten and dark evening draw in, all the sooner. Love and light, Deborah.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bei tempi! (scherzo, eh…). Certo che una volta per noi maschietti le cose erano più facili. Mannaggia! Adesso ci tocca anche imparare come fare andare la lavatrice. Purtroppo qualcuno non si rassegna, a quanto si legge dalle cronache di tutti i giorni. E il mondo non è nemmeno tutto uguale, c’è ancora tanta strada da fare…

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  5. Beh una visione della donna molto estrema, ai giorni nostri non la condivido mica tanto!!! Del resto con le sue poesie ha dato un notevole contributo al femminismo!!! Sinceramente non è tra le mie poetesse preferite anche nelle sue più spirituali, le ho sempre trovate troppo esaltanti!!! Naturalmente questo è solo il mio gusto e nulla toglie al tuo sempre magistrale lavoro❣❣❣. Buona serata 😘

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah non lo so, capita anche a me che alcuni utenti di wp alle volte mi finiscono nella cartella dello spam, non sempre ma capita!!! Misteri del web 🙄. Buona serata 😘

        Like

  6. For many women, this sad story has changed into one where they have taken charge of their lives. But I know, as I have worked with victims of domestic violence, that these types of abusive relationships are not gone. Thanks for sharing this difficult story.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s so true. “Some women marry houses.
    It’s another kind of skin; it has a heart,
    a mouth, a liver and bowel movements.” I’ve seen too many shut themselves in an unhappy but survivable relationship. Life is not nice towards women.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Buona giornata, cara
      Siamo arrivati nel XXI secolo eppure anche da noi la donna è a volte considerata solo un oggetto, una merce, un possesso privo di volontà
      Grazie per la riflessione 🙏😊🙏

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  8. Very true. It is changing though. Slowly, too slowly, maybe slower than I thought it would in the 70’s… But it is.
    (How do you translate all your texts? Do you use a translator and edit, or do you translate directly, the old-fashioned way? Curious… I do have a lot of material to translate…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I usually do research and write in English, also because most of the posts are about English-speaking authors. Then I translate into Italian using the translator, which saves me the trouble of having to rewrite the whole text. After that I work on the translation: I correct it and also check that what I wrote in English (which is not my native language) made sense.
      As far as poetry is concerned, the operation is longer, due to the effort to try not to distort the rhythm and beauty of the original images
      🌹🦋🌹

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Google translator
        I think that that, in order to be able to use a translator well, one must already know the language. A bit like mortgages: in Italy the bank will grant them to you if you can prove that you have some economical resources, that is, that you don’t need them)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. LOL. Banks are the same everywhere. And yes, a translator is a tool for those who know the language… (I wish they had a learning curve: like, here’s your original translation, here’s my edited one. Please take that into account next time…) 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Glad we have evolved so much and live in the world where woman are respected. We have come a long way and we still have a long road to bring out women empowerment in all the sections of our society. Thanks for sharing this, ma’am!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mia mamma era una casalinga, ma nel senso più brillante del termine.
    La sua figura era di donna davvero regina della casa, e fiera di esserlo. Mai vista come figura secondaria, men che meno “relegata” ad esserlo.
    Comprendo che la società spesso releghi le donne a ruoli diciamo “secondari”, ma non era il caso di mamma, casalinga direi più per vocazione, che per scelta. Era perfette nel suo esserlo, un lavoro (con due figli, casa e piccolo giardino…) a 360°, magari non remunerato, ma sempre apprezzato e mai svilito.

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  11. Amo la Sexton, meno accolta della Plath e sai perchè secondo me? Perchè la madre era ancora più terribile di quella della Plath ed era riuscita a succhiarle via tutta la forza possibile. Due sucide del karma famigliare.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I feel I am not a better qualified person to comment on your blog and Anne Sexton’s poetry ” HOUSEWIFE “. It is , however , true that woman not only marries man but his house also . And now a woman , woman for ever . No independent say at all . When young she has to listen her husband . After that to her children . It is absolutely true . And Anne Sexton was not wrong at all . But my feeling is completely different . I see an element of a Mother in my daughter’s eyes , her behavior and her approach to life . Similarly , I see this feeling in my wife also who , irrespective of this fact that she is my wife , behave like my mother rest of the time , my guardian and my best friend in odd times . All these characteristics only a mother can have . I feel all these without expressing my feelings of as if I am also her son . This a peculiar feeling in me that I can only feel and feel and feel and can’t express . Thanks !

    Liked by 2 people

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