Bewilderment of black women and quest for authenticity in Rita Dove's poetries


  • A. Malarselvi PG& Research Department of English, Government Arts College (Autonomous) Salem-636007-Tamilnadu
  • Dr. J. Jayakumar PG& Research Department of English, Government Arts College (Autonomous), Salem-636007-Tamilnadu


Racial Prejudice, Identity, Reminiscence and Yearning for Egalitarianism


Rita Dove is one of the illustrious poet, historian, lyrist, dancer, director, performer, singer, and civil rights activist in the realm of African-American literature. She is best known for her several objective poems.  Rita Dove's poetries focus on significantly the recurring themes including racism, familial relationship and journey for an unending quest for identity. Dove has been renowned and well admired as a world class poet for her objective poems. As a child, Dove went through five years of self-imposed silence after she was raped at the age of seven, who was subsequently kicked to death by her uncle. The loss of her voice was a result of the trauma, which made her imagine that her voice could kill. Dove started writing poetry and overcame her trauma. Her poetry thus, played an essential part in the recovery of her voice, which in turn signaled the success of the healing process.

Among her volumes of poetry are beginning with Thomas and Beulah and ending with her final memoirs, Dove used clouds as a metaphor to represent Dove's confinement resulting from racism and depression, struggling to escape its fence. Dove's poetry can be placed in the African-American literature tradition of political protest. Their unity underscored one of Dove's central themes: the injustice of racism and how to fight it.  In the course of her objective poetry, her views about Black-white relationships changed and she learned to accept different points of view. Dove's theme of identity was established from the beginning of her objective poetry, with the opening lines in Thomas and Beulah, and like other female poets in the late 1960s and early 1970s, she used the memoirs to re-imagine ways of writing about women's lives and identities in a male-dominated society. Her original goal was to write about the lives of Black women in America, but it evolved in her later volumes to document the ups and downs of her life.


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