Character Analysis in The Garden
The Speaker: Rendered immobile, the speaker addresses items in the garden and implores the wind for respite from the heat. While the speaker’s immobility can be read as a direct result of the heat, the speaker’s repeating “If…” clauses suggests a powerlessness in the face of an oppressive force. Given the context of author H.D.’s life and works, many attribute the speaker’s immobility to the oppressive nature of the patriarchy.
Character Analysis Examples in The Garden:
"I could break you...." See in text (The Garden)
The speaker ends this first stanza with circular logic. She first argues that if she could break “you,” the rose, then she could break a tree. Then she argues that if she could break the tree then she would be able to break the rose. Her arguments become contingent on hypothetical conditions rather than her actual abilities. This circular logic further emphasizes the speaker’s inability to act and paralyzed mental state.
"stir..." See in text (The Garden)
In this context, the verb to “stir” means movement that contrasts or disrupts a period of stillness. Again, the speaker uses the hypothetical “If I could construction” to show that she cannot perform the action that she wants. The speaker shows that she is constrained though we have not yet learned what prevents her from moving.
"you..." See in text (The Garden)
The “you” that the speaker addresses in this line is the rose. By making this line hypothetical (“If I could”), the speaker implies that she cannot break the rose. Readers are not given a reason for this immobility, but the repetition of the statement indicates that something is actively preventing the speaker from acting. This line emphasizes the speaker’s feeling of powerlessness.