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Comparing Roles of Gender Through Poetry of Levine & Oliver

            "Comparing Roles of Gender Through Poetry of Levine and Oliver-.
             Microsoft Bookshelf 2000 defines the term gender as "sexual identity, especially in relation to society or culture-. In effect, gender is an idea or concept, which is not solely based on sex, but the roles males and females play in society because of sex and how society's expectations, taboos, and mores sculpt one's identity. Poetry is an especially strong reference to utilize when considering the differences in gender because it is commonly rather personal. One could certainly dig through history books, the Internet or newspapers to try and explain the mysteries of gender, for in these resources there is much factual information to be found. Poetry can help explain such a general idea as gender because personal experience can be more easily related to.
             Philip Levine's poem "What Work Is- begins with the lines "We stand in the rain a long time waiting at Ford Highland's Park. For work. You know what work is - if you're old enough to read this you know what work is, although you may not do it. Forget you. This is about waiting, shifting from one foot to another."".
             Thus Levine begins his poem by throwing the reader into the midst of an un-employment line and does so very bluntly and confrontationally. It is obvious that his feelings towards those who do not work, and most likely those who don't do physical labor, are not positive. He is not euphemistic at the start at the poem, and until the reader reaches a farther point, it seems that he is not metaphorical either. This style of abrasive and up-front writing will later be very significant because the writer (at this point) seems to be sure of himself and doesn't second guess his own personal motives in relation to work. .
             While standing on this line of men, Levine spots one man ahead of him with a "grin that does not hide the stubbornness, the sad refusal to give into rain, (and) to the hours waiting - Levine recognizes the man's proud expression and thinks it to be his own brother because he has witnessed that very expression on his brother many times in the past.

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