Analysis Pages

Character Analysis in Patterns

Character Analysis Examples in Patterns :


🔒 8

"I shall walk..."   (Patterns)

This metaphor speaks to the “rare pattern” the speaker sees herself as being a part of. As a woman whose husband has died, the speaker is a widow—a woman condemned to mourning who will never love again. She has been put into a new pattern, one that prevents her from living her life and fulfilling her desire.

"With the weight of this brocade,..."   (Patterns)

The speaker draws a direct connection between her “faint” feeling and her oppressive, heavy dress. The speaker is not faint of heart and weak; rather the social expectations placed upon her cause her to swoon.

"maze..."   (Patterns)

In this fantasy, the speaker gives herself the power to make her own patterns in the paths. She has the agency to shape where they want to go. While she is still confined by the “patterned paths,” she has the agency to choose and shape her experience of these paths. These qualities sharply contrast the presentation of the speaker at the beginning of the poem and suggest that without her lover, the speaker does not have this power.

"flashing from his sword-hilt..."   (Patterns)

The “flashing sword-hilt” innuendo suggests that this stanza is the speaker’s sexual fantasy and expression of her obstructed desires. The buckles and heavy-boots that describe the rest of the man’s outfit cast him as a symbol for manliness and military prowess.

"Bewildered..."   (Patterns)

The verb “bewilder” means to confuse, perplex, or mystify. It connotes a type of fascination or enchantment with something. In using this verb, the speaker paints this scene with her lover in a fantasy realm that is almost supernatural or mythological. Like the naked woman in the fountain, like a nymph, she imagines herself to be captivating and enticing.

"woman bathing..."   (Patterns)

These lines could indicate that the speaker is looking at the figure of a naked woman bathing in this marble fountain and identifying with her. The naked woman in the fountain represents freedom from care and restraint. The speaker looks at the statue enviously because she can only be as free as this naked woman below the confines of her dress.

"bathing in a marble basin..."   (Patterns)

Showers and indoor plumbing were not introduced until the 1850s. Before these inventions, people took baths in large copper, marble, or wooden basins filled with water heated on a stove. The speaker imagining her naked body beneath her dress as a woman bathing could signify detachment from her own physical form. This perception of her own body demonstrates the speaker’s sexual repression and the restriction of the female form.

"I too am a rare Pattern...."   (Patterns)

The word “too” refers back to the fashionable items of clothing that the speaker has just described. In this line, she suggests that these fashion choices are patterns of dress taken up by the women in her society. In comparing herself to these patterns, the speaker conveys that her identity is also composed of a social pattern. Although she is part of a “rare pattern” and therefore unlike many others around her, her actions are still governed by a pattern. What this “rare pattern” is has yet to be revealed to the reader.

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