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Marks By Linda Pastan: The Issue Of Under Appreciation Of Mother

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“Marks” is unusual because it addresses the frustrations of a typical housewife. Few people consider being a wife and mother a full-time job in itself, and it is not uncommon for a woman who plays both of these roles to feel overworked and unappreciated. The overall tone of this poem is one of melancholy. The speaker doesn’t show very much emotion within the poem, and simply states the facts. I imagine the speaker living a hard life, not with reference to physical labor, but in dealing with a high level of emotional stress. Any mother would be simply devastated if her husband constantly put her down, and her children said she was simply an “average” mom.

In the short poem “Marks” written by Linda Pastan it provides great detail into the life of a disgruntled wife who is a mother of two. The setting of the story takes place in a standard family house but they seem to treat everything like they are in school. Pastan uses an extended metaphor throughout the poem comparing life to school. The family from the husband, daughter, and son are giving the mother Marks which are grades. The marks the mother receives from her family drive her. The conflict the mom has with these marks causes conflict with her with husband, her children and also causes inner conflict with herself. The poem is about a woman who was being evaluated by her family which includes her husband and her kids by her Performance according to them so it’s the whole idea is that the woman is trying her best to keep everybody happy because in general mothers and wives try their best to keep their family content and everybody’s pleased in the family. She doesn’t want anybody to be sad or down so the woman tries her best to keep the family happy and her family is taking their opinion and they’re giving her grades so her husband gives her a B in bed her son says she’s average. Those are all ideas that she’s being graded by her family so the speaker does not seem to be very happy about this whole idea of her family grading her on her performance as a mother and we can see this through.

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At the end of the poem she says I’m dropping out this could imply many things and it’s for the reader to think but it couldn’t mean that she didn’t decide to leave her family because she can’t take the pressure of being rated and underappreciated by her family maybe she’s going to it to an extreme committed suicide because she can’t take the way her family is treating her and the way she did making her feel so underappreciated. So basically, this poem is about how this woman is so underappreciated by her family she tries her hardest to make her family so happy to keep everybody in the best mood possible but yet she can never do enough because she’s always being judged by her own family which is a bit sad when you think about it because she’s trying her best to just make everyone happy and she can’t even really do that properly because her family is constantly judging her and she always feels like she’s being judged by everyone who just graded. And she’s never what she does is just never appreciated by the people who are supposed to love her and care for her the most in the world the way she does to them.

I believe that the poems literal meaning is now we shouldn’t take advantage of our mothers because they do so much for us and yet we continue to judge them on what they do and it’s hurtful especially for a mother because she’s trying everyone happy and she’s just continuously being judged so I believe that the whole point of this poem is for the reader to understand that we cannot keep under appreciating our mother. I also believe that aside from the literal meaning of this poem this poem can be seen as a metaphor for actually the grading system the education system we can see this because the mother woman is being graded on what she’s doing which is kind of similar to the way we’re being graded on what we’re doing. We try our best and we study and we keep studying it’s never enough because we’re always being judged by someone else who doesn’t know the amount of effort we put in to make to get these marks it’s the same way the mother puts in so much effort and they realize it but they’re judging her. It’s the exact same thing with school so the tone of the poem changes throughout at the beginning of the poem.

It starts with my husband gives me an aim for last night’s supper so in general when someone receives a name it’s a good thing and it’s positivewhich could set the tone for it being happy and a positive poem and everything is going to be fine but I students plum proceed and especially towards the end the poems tone changes completely when she says I’m dropping out that’s when the tone just shifts from positive poem to negative poem because technically dropping out is never a good thing and it’s never seen as something positive but it’s rather seen as something negative so that the poems tone right there has a huge shift. So the main reason I chose this poem is because I understand where the poet is coming from with the under appreciation of our mothers because it’s true we all judge our mothers on what they do for us. Always complain we’re never happy and we’re never it’s never good enough everything you do is never good enough and I understand why she write a poem like this because we really do under appreciate our mothers so much they do so much for us they always try to make us happy and yet we always judge them and it’s not right because our mothers gave us life. They’re the ones who put us on this earth and we should appreciate them for all they do even though maybe sometimes you don’t agree with them and sometimes they’re annoying they still are with us on this earth and they still deserve the appreciation for what they give us and for all that they do for us.

Another reason that I kind of relate to this poem really well it’s because of school how it relates to like the school aspect in the metaphor of it well basically in college and the last two years of high school. I really put in a lot a lot a lot of effort because I really wanted to do well and I really wanted to keep like now I want to keep my art score up so I write these papers I put so much effort into them and I end up getting a mark that I thought maybe I find to be a bit unfair or I don’t really agree with it because of all the effort I put into it and I feel like it could be seen as the unfairness of the grading system because we are graded on our ability to do something as compared to other people which is not really fair and that’s why I find this poem really captures that really well. It captures the whole idea of the under appreciation of mothers and how they’re being graded but it also captures the under appreciation of students where they’re constantly being judged by someone who doesn’t know their capability and how much effort they put into what they did the same way that mother puts in so much effort to what she does for her children and her children are constantly judging her.


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