Essay Gretel by Andrea Budy Analysis

Words: 916
Pages: 4

“A woman is born to this: sift, measure, mix, roll thin.” These starting words of the poem Gretel by Andrea Hollander Budy already show the imprisonment of women within a certain standard set by society. These words basically tell us that a woman has no choice on which path to take in her life because she is already born to something. This idea of women, along with prostitution, is what is being shown in the poem. Gretel, though modified, from the children’s tale Hansel and Gretel serves as the exemplary figure. This poem shows ideas about prostitution, and how women will always be caged in the standards set upon them no matter how hard they try to escape. The she in the poem refers to Gretel, but older than her character in the …show more content…
The old woman may figuratively refer to society itself (she did not seize/choose Gretel because she was not good enough). Again, this shows women being caged in a certain standard set upon them, and have no more value once they escape from this cage.
The poem ends with Gretel not escaping the oven, eating the crumbs meant for him, and remembering something of his touch. The “his” in this part of the poem does not necessarily talk about Hansel. This may refer to all the guys who have touched her before. Gretel “won’t escape that oven” shows that Gretel chooses this path, which is probably death, rather than going back to her old life. This is probably a choice made by Gretel because the word used is “won’t”, which supports an action made by will (as oppose to “can’t”, which supports an action that is not motivated by a choice).
Lastly, the line “she’ll eat the crumbs meant for him, remember something of his touch, reach for the sifter and the cup” probably talks about Gretel’s last thoughts inside the oven. She is kind of bringing with her the memories she had in the past as she is about to face her escape/death.
Indeed, this poem generally talks about Gretel and her double as a prostitute; the imprisonment of women into a certain standard set by society; and Gretel’s rebellious act against this societal