Showing 261 - 270 of 506 annotations tagged with the keyword "Women's Health"

An Abortion

O'Hara, Frank

Last Updated: Jun-15-2006
Annotated by:
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The narrator is both sympathetic observer and harsh judge, evoking the conflicting emotions, and human and ethical considerations surrounding the abortion of a fetus. The choice and juxtaposition of words is powerful and shocking: "more monster than murdered . . . autumn in our terrible breath."

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The Abortion

Walker, Alice

Last Updated: Jun-15-2006
Annotated by:
Nixon, Lois LaCivita

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Summary:

The story does concern an abortion, but, more so, the failure of the protagonist’s husband to participate in essential discussions relating to their marriage. Imani, a well-educated black woman, and her husband, Clarence, have a two-year old child and a seemingly good life. The marriage, however, is on uneasy ground because Clarence’s focus has shifted from family to job. Busy as a key advisor to the mayor, he has not thought about this, but Imani, now pregnant, has had time to reach this disturbing conclusion. She decides that unless Clarence will fight to save this child, she will abort the pregnancy. When he fulfills her expectations, quickly acquiescing to her termination plans, Imani recognizes that the partnership is over.

For Imani, abortion is no small matter nor is it new. While still in college, she had undergone a brutal experience with severe hemorrhaging. This time it is an "assembly line" event with no complications, but, again, she is alone. Clarence, oblivious to her smoldering rage about his complacency, subordinates her needs to those associated with his job.

The abortion concretizes the distance between them: "She had known the moment she left the marriage, the exact second. But apparently that moment had left no perceptable mark." Twice Imani had been scarred by abortion, and Clarence, oblivious to these marks, remained in uncomprehending disbelief as the marriage deteriorated and, then, dissolved.

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Notes from the Delivery Room

Pastan, Linda

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry — Secondary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Amusing, and lovingly told in the first person, the poem describes the comically embarrassing physicality of giving birth and considers the profound implications of this life event: the sex act from which conception originates, the anguish of losing a child; the fearful joy of welcoming a new life into the world. During labor, the mother is also aware that the doctors expect her to perform, "the audience grows restive," but in the end they are of no consequence as it is "just me, quite barefoot / greeting my barefoot child."

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In the Hospital

Goedicke, Patricia

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Chen, Irene
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

A woman with breast cancer describes dealing with doctors and medical procedures, from facing "embarrassing questions" to the finality of the mastectomy itself. She copes passively with the procedures by escaping into a fantasy world; but when it is time for the doctors to remove her breast, she assumes an active role and "[gives] it to them."

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Lady Lazarus

Plath, Sylvia

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Aull, Felice
Chen, Irene

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

A 30 year-old woman describes with chilling power her three suicide attempts. She compares herself to a cat with nine lives and to a concentration camp victim; yet "dying / is an art . . . / I do it exceptionally well." The doctors/men that save her are the enemy, and she warns them to "beware."

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The Girl

Olds, Sharon

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Wear, Delese

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This is a graphic, highly-imaged portrayal of rape involving two twelve-year-old girls.

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First Menstruation

Bass, Ellen

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Wear, Delese

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This poem describes the first period of a girl who has been waiting what seems "like a lifetime" for her period to start, only to find herself emotionally disconnected to her mother at this important rite of passage.

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Our Menstruation

Zelman, Cynthia

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Wear, Delese

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Summary:

This is the story of Vicky, a metaphorical figure, who was both outsider and larger-than-life, and who was first on her junior high school softball team to start her period. She does so in the midst of a game, with boys and girls looking on, bases loaded, Vicky herself at bat. When she lifts her left leg during a swing, a large patch, a "sea of red" is visible in her crotch. Made aware of what has happened by the urgent cries of some of her girlfriends, Vicky looks down, shrugs, and continues her run around the bases: a home run. Vicky, big as an earthquake, comes to symbolize womanhood for these girls, moving them to some slightly higher plateau of understanding about being women, and being together.

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Snapshots of Grace

Henderson-Holmes, Safiya

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Wear, Delese

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Summary:

This story presents a denial of breast cancer so deep that it may cost a woman her life. Arranged by discrete sections labeled "photographs," the story is a chronology of Grace from age five to her present middle age. The story ends after her surgery, and readers are left with the insight that for Grace--and many other women--breasts were more than sexual appendages that warranted admiration from others, visual affirmation of her womanness, or sexual enticements. They were her body, her self, and removal of her breast was not simply removal of a peripheral part.

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Something to Look Forward To

Piercy, Marge

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Wear, Delese

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This poem is a cynical yet earthy account of menstruation and the ambivalence many women feel toward it. The narrative voice is a middle-aged woman recounting how periods have interrupted her life in various ways, some quite dramatically, others humorously. The final verse, however, provides the sardonic twist of the poem: when twelve-year-old Penny is handed a pad the "size of an ironing board cover," she cries out "Do I have to do this from now till I die?" The answer is, of course, no, at which point she replies, quite relieved, that there is something "to look forward to."

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