An Analysis of the Ides of October

  1. The Narrator of the poem had satisfied all her debts, “Paid for” all the happiness by the “Ides” of October. That is to say that she has no debts.
  2. She “used” to feel the presence of the child “All around [her].” Emotional and in the past tense.
  3. The poem then begins to draw some unique imagery. “Slough” means “Snake’s Skin”. As if the snake’s skin was a charm of some sort. The poem will get into further imagery, likening the Narrator to a mythological portrait. That of a woman wearing a Snake’s Skin and hedge of Roses.
  4. She wears the snake’s skin. Drawing an almost mythological figure for the narrator.
  5. Drawing from the emotion of bearing a child. She is “Flushed” like a “Peach.” Further making the portrait of a mythological birth, being that the narrator uses terms like “resurrection” in contrast to the sun. I sense no mythological foundation or framework in the poem. The woman is being likened to the Virgin Mary, this mythological figure carrying someone important. Not to the line of idolatry, either. It is simply a feeling, like the Narrator were the virgin Mary, or some figure like such.
  6. The figure has roses wrapped around her waist. She had made love in the “Ides of October” and bore her child in June. She is likening herself to a mythological figure, with roses wrapped around her waist and a snake’s skin as a sash.
  7. Now the narrator is in a New October, where she places the family portraits on the “Spanish Chest.” Likening to the archetype of familiarity, likely something she had growing up, or has sentimental attachment to.
  8. “Imagery”— Describing the child. Since the man is absent in the work, the imagery describes the child with “Emotion” “Animated” in his “cheeks.”
  9. She alludes to the “Moon” nursing the “Stars.” Emotion driven imagery, drawing the metaphor of the poem that she is nursing her baby.
  10. The Silk Worms’ nests are likened to the narrator’s child’s hair. “The” is used, setting the child apart from the mother, solely focusing the poem’s emotions on him. It strengthens the emotion of the piece, yet creates the awe stricken wonder of the scene.
  11. The imagery here is esoteric, likening the child to “Death”. Drawing the imagery from the cocoons, where the larvae must have metamorphosis before there is “Birth”, or the becoming.
  12. The child cries, and his lips tremble.
  13. The child loves his mother. The emotional impact of this verse is where the poem’s tension is weighted. She is describing the love of her child for her. Perhaps the poem a metaphor for Postpartum depression.
  14. The child’s fingers are nude, grasping the mother’s breast while giving suck.

Thoughts: It seems the poem is a metaphor for Postpartum depression. The last line really draws the feeling of the mother, while the thirteenth line draws a draws a metaphor on the baby’s love for the mother. I must admit it’s a bitter poem, but woven are the images of the snake’s skin, which is perhaps foreshadow. Perhaps an affaire brought on the pregnancy, which is alluded to by the absence of the father. The poem expressing the melancholy of Single Motherhood. I think the poem is expressing the wisdom of a mother with a child. She is like Mary Mother of Christ, but on the flip side there is a Cognitive Dissonance entangled in her single motherhood. It’s wielding dual emotions, the conflict of a mother in her situation.

Milton, Gabriela Marie. “The Ides of October.” WordPress. 2020, 8/14/2020.

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