Running head: SADIE AND MAUD ESSAY Sadie and Maud Essay University of Phoenix Eng120 Sadie and Maud Essay This poem immediately begins with the differences in the paths of the two sisters. Maud may have been the achiever, the one chosen to excel and become a success. Maud was the sister who, if not the brightest, was certainly the least adventuresome, and the more dutiful, of the two. The connotation that Sadie stayed at home could be interpreted in a number of ways. Did Sadie live at home with her parents and do nothing as Maud went to college Did she merely stay in their hometown but lived independent of their parents’ home?
There is no indication that Maud went away to college and attained any measure of independence just that she attended college and Sadie did not. Maud does not strike one as the type to leave home. Sadie, on the other hand, delved into life’s pleasures with a passion. This author suspects she may have been a woman who craved excitement and physical gratification. The metaphor “Sadie scraped life with a fine-tooth comb” (Brooks, 1963), is an appropriate description for a woman who did not conform to the norms of her time but lived life to the fullest.
The next line in the poem alludes to the fact that Sadie did not shy away from pleasure or trouble and was a woman who experienced a fair share of both. It is hard to believe that a young woman who “…didn’t leave a tangle in. Her comb found every strand” (Brooks, 1963) could make it through life without difficulties. The word “chit” is defined in The Concise Oxford English Dictionary, as an insolent, audacious, and conceited young woman. The poem makes no mention of the age of the sisters. Was Maud the oldest and therefore the first to reach college age?
Could they have been twins who were so vastly different that their paths, dreams, and desires were exactly the opposite? The good twin bad twin situation; one a good girl who does everything expected of her and the other a girl who could care less what her parents wanted or what the world thought. These are valid questions in the absence of fact. Sadie had two children sans the benefit of marriage. This poem, published in 1963, speaks of the shame it brought to the family and is a denotation of a sign of the times. Unwed motherhood was not a trend during those times and was viewed as disgraceful to everyone involved.
What would the neighbors think? How would the town react to the family after this dishonorable event? Bearing children out of wedlock was symbolic of the actions of a loose woman. Sadie instilled in her daughters the same sense of adventure and freedom that she possessed and upon her final home going, they set out on their own paths. They chose to leave behind the oppressive, judgmental life that Maud could only dream of escaping. One can only hope that in their journeys they found happiness and success while carrying on Sadie’s legacy.
The refusal to be held in open bondage by parents, peers and life is a choice not to be taken lightly. Maud, in the end, was compared to a lonely rodent. The imagination takes off and the picture of an ugly, skinny mouse in a drafty, rundown old house comes to mind. Maud’s greatest accomplishment may have been to go to college. Did Maud find success in her professional life? Did she sacrifice personal satisfaction for that success? This poem speaks of the sadness of a life not lived and how doing the right thing in the eyes of everyone else may not be the best choice.
This poem is a free verse which consists of four lines per stanza, which is considered a quatrain and the second, and forth lines in each stanza rhymes. REFERENCE “chit1 n. ” The Concise Oxford English Dictionary, Twelfth edition . Ed. Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2008. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Apollo Group. Retrieved October 8, 2009 from http://www. oxfordreference. com/views/ENTRY. html? subview=Main&entry=t23. e9844 Poetry Foundation. (2009) Sadie and maude. Retrieved October 8, 2009, from http://www. oetryfoundation. org/archive/poem. html? id=172083 Sadie and Maud by Gwendolyn Brooks Maud went to college. Sadie stayed at home. Sadie scraped life With a fine-tooth comb. She didn’t leave a tangle in. Her comb found every strand. Sadie was one of the livingest chits In all the land. Sadie bore two babies Under her maiden name. Maud and Ma and Papa Nearly died of shame. When Sadie said her last so-long Her girls struck out from home. (Sadie had left as heritage Her fine-tooth comb. ) Maud, who went to college, Is a thin brown mouse. She is living all alone In this old house.