Women alongside artists have always had an issue with power struggle; whether in relationships, workplace, society or with themselves, they are constantly reaching for a sense of control. The context of women and artists in Tennyson’s and Anderson's texts is important when looking for an understanding of the power of the individuals. Nora Porteous, the main character of ‘Tirra Lirra by the River’, is an artist who faces many difficulties that stem from the fact that her life choices are limited by the traditional female role of the 1970s, a role to which she generally submits passively, similar to that of the lady of Shallot who is afraid to change due to her restrictions with both being an artists and the curse. Nora says “Here i am, and here i will stay. Anything else is too much trouble.” This shows both the struggle of artists and women in deciding between leaving the familiar but compromising their art or staying in the mundane. It also shows the everlasting struggle of women in relationships and Nora's inability to leave her relationship long after she knew she was unhappy; due to the fact she had no control over her money and felt tied to Colin; much like the curse bound the lady of shallot to the castle. It was not until the lady of shallot was able to compromise her art for freedom that she could feel the gain of control of her life (but ironically losing all control) and Nora let go of Colin and embarked on her own that they were able to feel a sense of power. With this Power Nora did not end up finding control of her life but did feel the sense of being able to decide her own pathway and thus seek to confirm her importance in society. “When sexuality is so very fashionable, it is easy to believe that it underlies all our actions”. Nora informs us that women were not only not able to take control of their actions because of the way that society perceives women but because they deduce that their actions really are limited by their gender. In ‘The Lady of Shallot’ Lancelot says “ she has a lovely face; god in his mercy lend her grace” this supports Nora's statement as the ladies actions were look upon based on her gender and not on the act itself. The gendered societal repressions in both texts give an insight to the individuals reasoning behind there need for control which ultimately comes from the distinct context of each text.
The timeless desire for power to control and understand our emotions is explored in both texts through the use of techniques and context. Nora like any other has experienced the loss of control over her emotions. “At the Custs shop one day i wept and wept why? i can’t remember”. This explores the idea that when our emotions are uncontrollable they are often the result of something insignificant that after the passing of time the only thing remembered is the unruly emotions. At this point Nora is reflecting on her life and many of the memories that she recalls are that of when her emotions were out of her control. It is from these memories she recalls the different turns she took in her life in these uncontrollable moments. Tears, Idle Tears makes many references to uncontrollable emotions.