“Woman” by Nikki Giovanni Essay

“Woman” by Nikki Giovanni is a poem about a woman who is going through rejection. The woman wants a man to love her, and is opening up to him, but her man constantly rejects and denies her. The poem is figuratively about how people shouldn’t change who they are just because others do not accept them. The author also conveys that people should not hold back from expressing their feelings. People should have the freedom to share what they want, and should not be discourage to do so.

Through the poem, Nikki Giovanni uses metaphors to convey the idea that one doesn’t need validation from others to accept one’s self. Even if people don’t support or listen to a person’s ideas, one shouldn’t let others discourage her from sharing her ideas as seen through metaphors in the poem. In the poem, the man constantly rejects the women, “She wanted to be a robin/ singing through the leaves/ but he refused/ to be her tree” (1-4).

He refuses to hear her, or support her.

Metaphor of a Robin Singing

The metaphor portrays the relationship by comparing her to a robin singing. The robin represents the woman, and how she sings to get his attention. The bird can also represent The tree represents a relationship between them, but the he does not want to be a tree; therefore, their relationship does not exist. The tree also could also represents a home, or a place to come back to, but he doesn’t want to be a tree, therefore he doesn’t want to be her home to come back to. Also, the comparison of him refusing to be her tree conveys that he doesn’t want to listen, or support her. Him being a tree also portray that he doesn’t want to settle down with her, as a robin lives in trees and “he refuses to be her tree”. This metaphor conveys that he doesn’t want to support her, or settle down as a couple. The use of the metaphor helps the readers understand that it is hard for the woman to feel validation if the man does not.

Metaphor of Grass and a Dandelion

The message that one doesn’t need approval from others to have something special in one’s life is transferred through metaphors. Throughout the poem, the man refuses to support and help her grow. He also refuses to her special someone. As the woman describes how the man responds to her, “she wanted to be a blade/ of grass amid the fields/ but he wouldn’t agree/ to be the dandelion” (1-4). She wants him to be the “dandelion” among a field of grass, a metaphor for something or someone special, in comparison with plain grass. Dandelion is also a weed, which is hard to get rid of, because it’s strong. This is another metaphor for the man being strong and supportive. In the end, “she decided it was all/ right”(22-23), she is fine with the man refusing her love. Ultimately, the man’s refusal to be someone special and supportive to the woman, the fact remains that he still is, whether or not he approves of it.

Conclusion – Why You Need to Be Yourself

The metaphor contributes to the theme by displaying love, a complex emotion in humans as something as fundamental and basic as nature, such as the singing robin and dandelion. Giovanni conveys the message that especially with something as complex and delicate as love, one should not obsess over it, because one doesn’t need the approval or validation from others to know one’s self. One work of literature that may connect to the thesis is the American Born Chinese. This novel provides us the life of an American born Chinese boy. Even though he was born in America, his parents raise him in an Asian environment.

When he begins high school, he is very different from his classmates. To fit in, he tries many ways to be caucasian. Throughout the changes, his friend notices his changes and tells him he is not acting like himself. The main character becomes a jerk, and he tries too hard to fit in. He notices all this and he accepts who he is, and he becomes himself again. The main theme of the book is people should not change just because society influences them to do so. The theme of the novel connects with the poem because it displays that people shouldn’t change just because of society’s, or a person’s validation. Instead, one must follow one’s own path and beliefs, because one knows one’s self best.

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