2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

 Agha Shahid Ali's Feminist Poems: "Snowmen" and "Story of a Silence"


Sidney Shields
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

This paper analyzes Agha Shahid Ali’s feminist poems, “Story of a Silence” and “Snowmen.” Central to the poems are the lost women in the speakers’ ancestral history. We learn, for example, in “Story of a Silence,” when the grandfather “slept” the speaker’s grandmother “leafed through his dreams: she wasn’t in any of them.” The speakers’ awareness of their unknown female ancestors in both poems emphasizes the “evaporation” of women from memory. In “Snowmen,” the speaker’s ancestor “froze women in his embrace.” The imagery conjured by lines such as these give voice to the lost women in the speakers’ ancestral history. The speaker in “Snowmen,” determined to escape the trap laid by the “generations of snowmen on [his] back,” promises himself “even if I’m the last snowmen, / that I’ll ride into spring / on their melting shoulders.”

Keywords: Feminist, ancestry, evaporation, poetry

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 206-2
Location: BH 251
Time: 10:30

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