This is a narrative poem which means that it tells a story. Liz Lockhead combines parts from the fairy stories in order to look at the relationship between men and women from a different point of view. It is a modern poem with feminist evidence. Unlike in traditional fairy tales, there is no happy ending. It ends in disappointment and disillusionment for the woman. (Linked with ‘our love now’). .
Compared to traditional fairy stories, there is a difference in the presentation between men and women. In the modern poem, the man is the weaker character. He is treated as a ‘sex object’ in the poem. (Lines 17 and 18 for example). The man seems to be only interested in sex – without any commitment. He seems to be totally unaware of what the woman wants. .
The female character seems to be enjoying her isolation in the tower. But, she conforms to society’s expectations (see lines 8 and 9 for examples). So she decides that she needs a man to help her out – just as society expects. .
However, she becomes increasingly frustrated by his attitude. He seems to have no idea what she wants from him. He always appears to be out of step with her. For example, he gives the right response to the question proposed. In the end, she is destroyed by her frustration with the prince (See line 47). .
Ideas and Attitudes .
This is a modern poem with feminist elements. Unlike in traditional fairy tales, there is no happy ending to this tale. It ends in disappointment and disillusionment for the woman. This shows there is a difference in presentation between men and women. The male is a weaker character. He is nervous and lacking in confidence. He is also treated as a sexual object in this poem – “he did look sort of gorgeous/axe and all” but he only seems to be interested in sex – “bringing her the sex manuals” without commitment. .
He seems to be totally unaware of what it is that the maiden wants. The female character seems to be enjoying “her isolation” but she still conforms to society’s expectations – “she had not been brought up to look for originality” so she embarks on a relationship with the Prince.