Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In Those Years

“In Those Years” was written in response to the attitude during the Reagan administration and Rich’s own feelings toward the public.  Throughout the administration the American society was becoming increasingly self-absorbed and less political.  Rich’s frustration was in response to a contradiction to her morals.  She strongly believed it was the utmost importance that the American people are involved in politics and yet many were overly concerned with themselves, ignoring politics all together.  Rich reproduces this self-centered attitude by writing, “. . . we lost track / of the meaning of we, of you / we found ourselves / reduced to I” (1-4).  Skillfully, Rich also is able to illustrate how the individual attitude creates a separation between personal and political.  Although people were creating this separation Rich stresses that no matter how far that separation may be, the two worlds will cross again.  Rich writes, “we were trying to live a personal life . . . But the great dark birds of history screamed and plunged / into our personal weather” (7, 10-11).  Rich believed that emotion and politics were connected.  Using that logic, no matter how individual a life becomes it will always be connected to politics.  As long as emotion is around, politics will follow, interrupting the individual life. 

Adrienne, Rich Cecile. “In Those Years” Dark Fields of the Republic: Poems 1991-1995. W.W. Norton & Company, 1995.
The Nation- Adrienne Rich Tribute

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