The Farmer's Bride by Charlotte Mew

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  • Women poets were still facing a brick wall layered with male poets and writers
  • Lived through WW1
  • Women were fighting for the vote when she was alive
  • Two of her siblings were branded to be 'insane'
  • Her sister and her made a pack to never marry - didn't want to pass insanity on to children
  • She would have been a 'dandy' - dressing like a Victorian man
  • Could have been a lesbian


  • Women's rights (she was going through the era of change) (whole poem could have been a metaphor for the way women were treated in this time)
  • Prodominant awerness of mental illness (she doesnt want to be close with the farmer - seen as abnormal. It could be a conciet for women being locked away from society???) (dehumanisation of mentally ill) 
  • Nature (is this poem a metaphor for Britain's industrialisation in which nature has been shunned due to greater use in mass machinery?) 
  • Talk about the microcosm of her society 
  • 'Bride' - innocence, she doesn't want to call herself a wife
  • Farmer's bride could represent women/naturalist
  • Farm could be seen as society/ nature
  • Farmer could be seen as all men/ exploiter

Voice of the poem: 

  • the male farmer 
  • monolgue 
  • unreliable narration - shows society's views. genuine lack of understanding, fault in him, blindness of man
  • represents the male's attitude to marriage 
  • this is used in an attempt to cristise the male patrichal society and trying to show and imbalance in society


  • no set structure in terms of stanza length, meter per line varies 
  • reflects and imbalance (insane, inequality)
  • reflects the three themes

The Farmer's Bride

  • possive nature
  • attitudes towards gender and marriage 
  • implies women were considered 'property' - she doesn't even have a name 

Three Summers since I chose a maid,

Too young maybe - but to do

At harvest - time than bide and woo

When us was wed she turned afraid

Of love and me and all things human;

Like the shut of a winter's day 

Her smile went out, and 'twasn't a woman - 

More like a frightened fay.

One night, in the Fall, she runned away.

  • 'Three summers' - reference to seasons (nature theme), seasons play out quite significantly in the poem, time of warmth and happiness and brightness. 
  • 'I chose a maid' - he is the subject. She didn't have a choice which displays how women had very littloe power which was very typical of society and women had little say. She is an object. 
  • 'do' and 'whoo' -rhyming couplet
  • 'at harvest  time...' - didn't spend much time romancing her, the prgmatic business of farming land is more important to him. For farmer's its the busiest time. Nature of marriage - why does he marry her if he doesn't have time? Marriage is completely male dominated and women are a commodity. He could see her as a free labourer. 
  • 'when us was wed' - example of unstandard dialect. Not educated, countryside, lack of sophistication 
  • 'like the shut of a winter's day'


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