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Exploring Revision

            Exploring Adrienne Rich's "Re-Vision-.
             In "When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision,"" Adrienne Rich selects five of her poems to represent stages in her development as a poet; however, it is a history not planned totally by conscious decisions on her part. Rich describes how the reflections of herself in her poems allowed her to identify the subconscious thoughts she put into some of her poems. Rich writes, "poems are like dreams: in them you put what you don't know you know- (632). It is through the act of "re-vision- - "of entering an old text of her poems from a new critical direction,"" (629) that patterns in her work as a writer begin to change. I will be examining a few of Rich's poems and interpret them. I will also show the significant patterns of change in Rich's poems.
             Rich describes re-vision as "the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction "is for women more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival- (629). For instance, Rich talks about when she wrote "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers- (1951). She wanted to create an imaginary woman and not a woman who was similar to herself. But years later, when she went back and re-read the poem, she observed, "In writing this poem, composed and apparently cool as it is, I thought I was creating a portrait of an imaginary woman. But this woman suffers from the opposition of her imagination, worked out in tapestry, and her lifestyle, ringed with the ordeals she was mastered by' (633). Rich was subconsciously including her own qualities and problems/ordeals into the characters of her writings.
             Rich noticed in her poems that whatever she knew, she wanted to "know in her own nerves- (624). Rich found it necessary to be acquainted with her anger at both the oppression of women and her experience with that oppression. She wanted to find the "anger that is creative- (624).

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