Adrienne Rich
"From where does your strength come, you southern jew/ split at the root,
raised in a castle of air". This is a quote from Adrienne Rich\'s 1982
essay, "Sources". Adrienne Rich is a southern jew who grew up in the
forties. As she grew up, her father hid the fact that they were Jewish. Her
father acted like he was fully assimilated and didn\'t show ethnicity in any way.

He did this to fit into society that was against Jewish people. This quote
reflects one of many themes Rich deals with in her poetry. The theme is racism,
hate, and bigotry. In many of Rich\'s works she talks about being oppressed. In
the poems, "1948: Jews", "Two Arts", and "A

Vision" there is a theme of oppression. In the poem " 1948:

Jews", Rich refers to her college years. At her college, she was to stay
away from Jews. No matter how brilliant a person was, she couldn\'t unite with
them as a group because socially it was less acceptable. She couldn\'t let
herself get attached, she had to avoid her own ethnicity to survive in American
culture. "Never mind just going to sleep like an ordinary person" Rich
says about the situation in the end of the poem. An ordinary person; this
portrays the feeling she had about the great discrimination that was going on at
the time. Rich didn\'t feel like an ordinary person. She felt hate from society
due to her background. This poem differs from Rich\'s other works in many ways. I
found that most of Adrienne Rich\'s poetry was very hard to understand. I found
threw reading Rich\'s poetry, she sometimes left the reader room to make his/ her
own conclusions about the meaning. In this poem, Rich was very clear to the
point. At her college, there was great racial tension and she felt she could not
be herself there. I found, that I personally can feel the poem better, if I can
really grasp the meaning. As opposed to left to wonder and draw my own
conclusions. Another great poem by Adrienne Rich was " Two Arts". One
theme in the poem, similar to "1948: Jews" is racism , hate, and being
a southern Jew in the forties. In the poem, Rich talks about sculpting a perfect
person free of any limiting factor, such as race or gender. This creation is
great art. She talks about presenting this perfect person or work of art to the
art instructor. I thought this represented her presenting her person to the
public. It was socially acceptable and it was a piece of art. "This time
they will love you, standing on the glass table, fluent and robed at last, and
all your origins countered" Rich says. In this quote, Rich describes
putting all your origins behind and being on a glass table for every one to see.

You are robed and ready for life. You have been molded into the ideal person.

This is another example of the theme of racism that Rich brings up in her
poetry. This is also a poem in which Rich wrote it to give you a definite idea.

She doesn\'t really give the reader much room to negotiate what the meaning of
the poem is. I like reading poems that are more literal, to me they have more
value. This poem differs from the others in many ways. This poem is more like a
fantasy of what it would be like to be perfect. This almost seems like a
childhood dream; to be someone your not. The poem "1948: Jews" is more
factual. This type of poem are based on real life experience and therefor I feel
they are of more value (Rich2 53) "A Vision" is another poem written
by Adrienne Rich that discusses the issue of racism This poem is in memory of

Simone Weil. Weil was a French, political activist, and social philosopher who
was very influential in the early twentieth century. Her writings greatly
effected French and English social thought. Later in Simone Weil\'s career, she
would be denied a teaching position because she was Jewish. I believe this is
why Rich talks about her. She can relate, they were both Jewish women in the
forties. Weil died in the turmoil of WWII. She could not survive with the
rations of food the Germans were giving. I would imagine she is one of Rich\'s
heroes. She is a fellow women who lived the life of a Jewish person in early
twentieth century.