Mastectomy Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 19 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Mastectomy.
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Identity

As the speaker in the poem tries to comprehend her experience with breast surgery, she must deal with the physical and emotional changes that occur as a patient confronts and undergoes mastectomy. Before and during the early part of the surgery, she sees herself in traditional feminine images. She imagines her breast as “succulent” and “juicy” like ripe fruit, suggesting that before the operation she felt womanly and fertile. As the surgeon removes her breast, the fruit metaphors shift to verbs associated with incision, chopping, and serving, as though the fruit associated with sexual attraction is now just a lump of matter to be handled with a knife and cleaned. This transition suggests that the speaker’s self-image is undergoing a transformation, too. The poem concludes in an open-ended way, without the speaker having found a new identity. The poem ends with a...

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This section contains 410 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Mastectomy Study Guide
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