AD's English Literature : Miracle Ice Cream -Adrienne Rich: Feminine Perspectives

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Miracle Ice Cream -Adrienne Rich: Feminine Perspectives


Miracle Ice Cream -Adrienne Rich
Miracle's truck comes down the little avenue,
Scott Joplin ragtime strewn behind it like pearls,
and, yes, you can feel happy
with one piece of your heart.

Take what's still given: in a room's rich shadow
a woman's breasts swinging lightly as she bends.
Early now the pearl of dusk dissolves.
Late, you sit weighing the evening news,
fast-food miracles, ghostly revolutions,
the rest of your heart.

Adrienne Rich, American poet and essayist, best known for her examination of the experiences of women in society reviews Miracle Ice Cream in feminine perspectives. Apparently the title suggests that the poem focuses on a special type or special dish of ice cream. However,  the ice cream has been attributed to something really special in the speaker’s life, thus giving it the name “miracle ice cream.” In fact, Miracle Ice Cream explores love to everyday things and the development of women's roles in seeing life in her own terms.

Scott Joplin, African-American composer and pianist achieved fame for his ragtime compositions and it is heard in “little avenue”. It is described as being little lane so that it is seen as simple and quaint. “Pearls” are used to describe the ragtime music that plays to give it a light, elegant feel. The first stanza snapshots a picture of a bunch of little children chasing the ice cream truck on a summer day.  Here is no other feeling except joyance with a piece of ice cream and enjoy. The speaker maintains a positive and optimistic attitude throughout the first half of the poem; she is explaining to the reader that there are several ways to be happy with your life, even if you don’t feel complete. In the first stanza, the speaker maintains a light, cheery tone by describing simple, innocent things like an ice cream truck and ragtime music playing in the background:

“Miracle's truck comes down the little avenue,
Scott Joplin ragtime strewn behind it like pearls,
and, yes, you can feel happy
with one piece of your heart.”
The second half is still optimistic, yet the tone becomes just slightly different.  During one’s haste life schedules, one can enjoy little moods of joy. Miracle Ice Cream reflects these concerns. It is a probing examination of joy and of what it means to be a woman in America. It discovers ways to apply her joy not to self-construction but to pointed critiques and envisioning of life as a whole.

Beginning with a formal and very finished modernist style, Rich’s Miracle Ice Cream in the second stanza took on a much more experimental form as she explored increasingly our daily social positions and interrogated our assumptions about enjoyment of heart and the ways we structure our social experience. The new day starting, the evening news, the miracle of fast food, and the dreams that occupy the night are the ephemeral source of joy in one’s heart. For these things can complete our heart with fun of living:

“Take what's still given: in a room's rich shadow
a woman's breasts swinging lightly as she bends.
Early now the pearl of dusk dissolves.
Late, you sit weighing the evening news,
fast-food miracles, ghostly revolutions,
the rest of your heart.”

Now, after reading Rich’s Miracle Ice Cream, we find that the title is explaining not a miraculous serving of ice cream, but rather that miracles come in simple forms. For example, the poem finds miracles in fast-food and the evening news, and the title points out that miracles can be commonplace and even in your own household. If we treat simple items as such, we can lead a very happy and fulfilling life. We can find miracles in everyday things. If we are happy with the little things, we can be happy with everything. 

 Ardhendu De 

Ref: 1. Miracle Ice Cream -Adrienne Rich
        2. American Poetry: Dr. Mitali Godh Hinj
        3. Collier's Year Book 
        4. Encarta Yearbook 
        5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrienne_Rich



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