Float - Pronoun Envy Summary & Analysis

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Summary

"Pronoun Envy" is a chapbook that consists of a long-form poem written in five-line stanzas, spread across 5 pages. This poem is narrated by an unnamed third person speaker who is concerned, as the first stanza makes clear, with the concept of "Pronoun envy" — a phrase "coined by Cal Watkins / of the Harvard Linguistics Department . . . to disparage / certain concerns / of the female students / of Harvard Divinity School." Some of these concerns, for example, include the question of God's gender: "In a world / where God is 'He' / and everyone else / 'mankind,' / what chance / do we [the women] have for / a bit of attention?" In response to such claims, Watkins replied that pronouns themselves were not to blame; rather, "It's the Indo- / European system of markedness" that's at fault. By this "Indo- / European system of markedness," Watkins is referring to the binary sexual system that...

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This section contains 1,625 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Float  Study Guide
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