Woman Work – Summary

Explanation of Main Idea
Maya Angelou, the poetess, has described the domestic routine of a housewife. The routine is mechanical, i.e. caring for the children, mending clothes, mapping floor, buying and cooking food and pressing clothes etc. It is in fact drudgery.

No leisure is available to a woman. Even then she is dreaming of ideal life. She longs for rain, sunshine and snowfall. It gives woman strength to sustenance. She wishes to be one with Nature and loves to be a part of the mountain, oceans, leaf and stone, star shine, moon glow. She likes to participate in nature around her. She is tired of her daily mechanical routine and requests the storm to rescue

her as follows:

Storm, blow me from here
With your fiercest wind
Let me float across the sky
Till I can rest again

The poetess, Maya Angelou has success fully described the disgust of the house woman for the dullness of life of drudgery and her longing for ideal life and union with nature around her.

Critical Appreciation
In this poem, Maya Angelou, an American poetess, tells us about the routine work of a woman. She is busy in daily chores. She attends the children and looks after them. She also mends the old cloths. She cleans the floor and also does all the shopping for the house. She has to cook food for the whole family. She looks after the young baby when it is wet and cries. Sometimes, she invites guests at her house and she has to serve them. She also cuts the cane for different household works such as making chair. Then, she cleans the whole house.
All this daily work just makes her life dull and bored. She may not remain creative and productive. In the house of such busy work she spares some time to enjoy the beauties of nature. She invites the sun to warm her and asks rain to fall on her forehead and make her clam and cool again. She asks the storm that with the help of its violent winds, it should take her to the skies where she can float and fly lightly and forget all her worries and troubles, where she can forget about the drudgery of this mechanical life and have some rest and relaxation. It is, in fact, a universal truth.
She asks the snow to cover her with its soft flakes. It seems that snow is kissing her and its touch is very cold and icy. So she addresses the things of nature, shining sun, falling rain, round and high sky, lofty mountains, vast oceans, green leaves, shining stars, glowing moon and even the humblest stones of this universe. She thinks that these are the only things she possesses because only they give her comfort during her work. She enjoys them all instead of her dull and boring work. As Ted Hughes says:

The convenience of the high trees,
The air’s buoyancy and the sun’s ray
All an advantage to me;

The monotonous work of the house gives her no pleasure. She is constantly under pressure that she has to do so many things. She is taken for granted by all the members of family. She
is neither paid nor appreciated. But, all this boring and dull work has made her a machine. Her senses are not yet dull. She still has got her imaginative power and can enjoy the dream of an ideal life. All these natural things give her power and strength to do her work. The beauty of the natural objects recharges her and pacifies the creative side of her mind.

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