The Farmer's Bride

Alice Love
Mind Map by Alice Love, updated more than 1 year ago
Alice Love
Created by Alice Love almost 5 years ago


AS - Level Poetry Mind Map on The Farmer's Bride, created by Alice Love on 04/03/2015.

Resource summary

The Farmer's Bride
1 Charlotte Mew (1869- 1928)
1.1 Farmer's Bride published in 1916
1.2 lived through WW1 + women's suffrage (1865 - 1918)
1.3 middle class but father died in 1898, leaving her family destitute
1.4 2 siblings were committed to mental institutions due to insanity -> Charlotte + Anne made a pact never to marry
1.4.1 they didn't want to pass insanity onto their children
1.5 'dandy'- a lady who dressed as a victorian man - lesbian? - homosexuality was illegal
1.6 themes
1.6.1 women's rights
1.6.2 awareness of mental illness
1.6.3 nature
2 Is the poem a metaphor for the way women are treated in Mew's society?
2.1 the Farmer's Bride herself symbolic of all women in society, under the reign of a man, allowed only the freedom her husband sees fit to give her
2.2 farm house is microcosm for society
2.3 Farmer's Bride - bride not wife, she hasn't moved on since wedding day, marriage not consummated, marriage of innocence not comfort. Possession of farmer, no name
2.4 bride - all women; farm - society; farmer - all men
3 Does the poem relict how 'insane' people were treated in this era?
3.1 Poem is a commentary on the cruelty of the mental health system
3.2 portraying the dehumanisation of mental patients
3.3 Bride - patient; farm - asylum; farmer - asylum warden
4 Is Mew showing us women's greater link to nature compared to men who seek to trap nature of destroy nature?
4.1 Poem is a metaphor for Britain's industrialisation, in which nature has been shunned due to a great use in mass machinery
4.2 the farmer exploits nature, he harvests crops, slaughters animals (for monetary gain). But she is at one with nature
4.3 bride - naturalist; farm - nature; farmer - exploiter
5 Stanza 3
5.1 she's not hysterical - she's doing the housework, just doesn't love him
5.2 quietly moves around him, only talks to animals, fears men
5.2.1 reason why she is scared of men - violence in past
5.3 farmer puts words in her mouth - reads her look
5.4 women gossip about her - they are the subservient wives to men, bride is different + doesn't do what society dictates
5.4.1 suffragettes didn't just have to change opinions of men but also women
5.4.2 pretends that animals are her children (excuse) - the women in the village think it's weird that she doesn't have any children women call them 'beasts' but bride looks at them like 'children'
5.5 hardly heard her speak at all -speechless, women have lack of voice and rights in society + politics
6 Stanza 6
6.1 exclamation marks, short sentences, repetition - losing control, breaking down, anger
6.2 alone poor maid - poor suggests sympathy, maid suggests virgin
6.3 'tis but a stair betwixt us - aware of physical distance between them - frustration (physically small distance but metaphorically huge)
6.3.1 on different levels - she's above him. The woman has the upper hand (she has remained true to herself).
6.4 he's beaten her, the 'down of her' - downfall, falling down the stairs. 'brown' - bruising OR he just leaves her to it, she simply doesn't come downstairs again + just dies up there + rots
6.4.1 sense that she's dead, dying or doomed
6.4.2 ! - to show anger or highlight element of surprise -> he's walked up the stairs to see her, + he's discovered her dead body. Suicide?
6.5 attic - bride is something he wants to keep but he doesn't use her - possession
7 Stanza 4
7.1 analyses her character
7.2 straight - straight-forward, tall?
7.3 sees beauty in her - 'sweets as the first wild violets'
7.3.1 but calls her wild - unspoilt, innocent
7.4 but what to me? - rhetorical question, she's beautiful, but she doesn't do it for his sake, she does it for her own self. Possessive voice
7.5 judges her on physical appearance - no compliment towards her character (he doesn't know her personality?)
7.6 shortest verse - abrupt rhetorical question. Doesn't matter what she's like if it doesn't benefit him
8 Stanza 2
8.1 sheep - biblical references, innocent creatures, need a leader, she wants to be among animals who have freedom of choice. sheep are a conformist animal, she the leader of them
8.2 she properly have been abed - probably been sleeping with her husband (to provide children)
8.3 doesn't perform wifely duties, chills with the animals doesn't tend to them
8.4 witch hunt - who is the plural group? she's the talk of the town, the whole of society sees that she's different. Society think that it's okay to chase a woman across a field to stop her getting away from her husband. Farmer plays to society's dictation, he's not out looking of her until they come to her - he has a predetermined role to keep his wife in check .
8.5 'Church-Town' - trying to find solace in the church but doesn't get there. Or is there no solace in the church?
8.6 Insanity - lunatic has escaped from a lunatic asylum + they have captured her + taken her back to her cell
8.7 flying like a hare - simile - compared to animals -> she's far closer to natural world than farmer. Women are more close to nature than men (child-bearers, mothers, continuers of race)
8.8 animals don't act because of how they're told to - they act instinctively. As does bride, like an animal she acts on her instincts (flight or fight)
8.8.1 Positive imagery of animals contrasts to farmer (backward, unintelligent farmer's dialect). And yet bride seems more intelligent for being silent.
9 Stanza 1
9.1 'more to do than bide + woo' + 'I chose' - possession, he quickly chose her, no time to court her or flirt with her, woman is a commodity (valuable for children, love etc.)
9.2 summer - positive connotations: time of warmth, happiness, childhood memories, brightness, future
9.3 the Fall - autumn - leaves fallen down + are decaying. In relationship, she has decided her relationship is decaying so she runs away
9.4 like the shut of a winter's day - simile - quick change, like the weather. Winter: negative connotations - coldness (coldness she shows to him), sparse, sadness
10 perspective
10.1 poem is told from farmer's (male) point of view
10.1.1 Why? tries to show an imbalance in society (men/women, normal/insane, nature/industrial) Structure: stanzas are various lengths, metre per line varies -> imbalance Tries to show this through man's voice, Bride has no voice (mute?)
11 Structure
11.1 unusual indentation - like the farmhouse, cluttered, imbalanced (jutting out), attic
12 Stanza 5
12.1 use of colour
12.1.1 grey, brown - reflects atmosphere of relationship, dull, lacks colour + anything vivd or exciting (e.g. sex)
12.2 autumn - decay
12.3 contrast of black soil + whiteness of snow - magpie is dead, strewn across the snow/earth - bleak image/omen/foreshadowing
12.4 red - passion, christmas. But, wants children (not just for labour but because he would take joy in being a dad). ! - emotional climax, fed up that he doesn't have children
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