Sunday, December 05, 2004

Khlebnikov's "Asia"

I think that the girl discussed in the first line of the poem by Khlebnikov is a sex slave, perhaps even an official government sex slave, for "her ear gleams with a government seal"-- a gesture alluding to the fact that she is government-owned property, like a street or a courthouse. Also, the first line also mentions her "breast bronze"-- this signifies that she is successful at what she does (a winner), but she is not the best (the color bronze symbolizes the fact that she comes into a ranking lower than first place).

There also appears to be a motif involving shimmering and shining: "your ear gleams," "human beings glitter," and so forth. However, these shining images, which should be representative of positive representation, are juxtaposed against contradictory images: "the ear gleams with A GOVERNMENT SEAL," "the "human beings glitter IN ITS DARK INK!" the uppercase portions express the contrast between the first part of each sentence. There is also another jutxaposition in Khlebnikov's "Asia," this one involving the female sex: "a girl with a sword" and "or an old woman." The "girl with a sword" connects female youth with power via a masculine property-- the sword, traditionally identified as a male object that is perhaps even suggestive of a phallus. Meanwhile, the young girl affiliated with male power is contrasted with "an old woman" who is connected to a very feminine and traditional role for women-- "MIDWIFE of insurgency." The old woman's affiliation with midwifery surfaces the point that she is visibly weaker than the young girl (and not just in physical condition, but clearly also in profession/affiliation).


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