Irony is evident from the very title of Taslima Nasrin’s poem, “Happy Marriage”. The first-person narrative is about a woman’s love for an abusive spouse. The speaker uses allusions, metaphors, imagery, and anaphora to portray an abusive relationship between a submissive woman and her husband.
The first stanza in “Happy Marriage” has a tone that is both desperate and resigned. In the second half, the speaker alludes to the body of her husband as meat. She uses words like “spread” in her eyes, “dagger” in her thigh, and “pinch”. All of these words have a negative connotation. The tone of this second stanza has a more hyperbolic, almost ironic feel as she describes her longing to serve the husband. Overall, readers are left feeling disgusted with the husband’s behavior and pity for his wife.
From the very first two lines, several similes and metaphors help to achieve this tone. The first sentence uses the metaphor “a monster man” to describe her husband. She uses a simile later, “…as though they were ambrosia/the filthy fluids of his polygynous torso” (26-27). In a short and concise way, the speaker can illustrate the relationship with the reader. In the section where the speaker refers to her body like a piece meat that her husband can take, hyperbole is employed. It helps the reader understand her view of her body and how her husband views it as his property.
In addition, the author uses anaphoras and imagery to create a cohesive poem. She uses anaphora to repeat the phrase “so he can, if he wants” in the lines 4, 8 & 11. The phrase “if he wishes” says so much in only five simple words. This phrase communicates to the reader that a husband can not only “rob” her of clothes (9), “chain” her feet (12), and take advantage at will, but he is also free to use his rights as he pleases. Also, a part of “so” is repeated at lines 20, 28, 31. The speaker’s words show the deliberate thought she has put into the actions and the reward she expects. In the third and second stanzas the phrase “I will” is repeated. “I love him” (20), I would “wait for and sob for him” (24), I would “bake my own bread” 25″, “drink” 26″, “melt as wax” 28″, and finally, commit suicide 33″ for him. In the first verse, she also uses effective but concise imagery such as “spit on me” (5), “slap me” (6), and “throw ground pepper in my eye” (16).
This poem was written to show the reader the submissive attitude of a woman who is in an abusive relationship. It also reveals the faulty thinking that lies behind this behavior. The poem raises questions such as, who told her that this is the way a woman should be treated by a male? It’s her culture and society. Was it someone she knew? Does she only believe what her spouse tells her? Also, the book challenges readers to examine how they themselves have viewed this type of behavior and thinking.
This poem was organized and constructed in a manner that evoked feelings of pity for the victim and anger towards the abuser. The reader is able to understand the woman’s mind through the author’s repetition and imagery. This poem will encourage readers to examine the values of any culture which has allowed abuse to occur.