The most impressed point from class on February 7th is that ‘farm is a place represents masculinity’. Most parts of this poem are talking about male. More of that, the only one female (my mother) dies in the middle of this poem! (Here ‘I’ is not considered as his/her gender is not revealed in the poem.)
Let us see some quotes that are expressing male doing some farm work.
‘The hired man laughed: just about planted the little bugger. / Cover him up and see what grows.’
‘My father didn’t laugh. He was puzzled / by any garden that was smaller than a / quarter-section of wheat and summerfallow.’
‘My father was mad at the badger’
‘My father / took the double-barrelled shotgun out into the potato patch and waited.’
‘My father could not shoot the badger. He uncocked the shotgun, came back / into the house in time for breakfast.’
‘One morning my father actually shot at the badger. He killed a magpie’
Then, how about female’s ones?
‘My mother was marking the first row / with a piece of binder twine, stretched / between two pegs.’
‘Bring me / the radish seeds, my mother whispered.’
Significantly, it can be said that this poem is expressing more farm work by male than female.
Next, let us think about my family. My ancestors have been farmers, and so my father, my grandfather, my great-grandfather. Usually farm labour has been for male. Taking heavy rice bags, cultivate fields with a tractor, or sometimes a hoe, building many vinyl houses, in hot and humid weather in summer, or in cold windy days in winter. Needless to say, people who have physical strength are just right for those labour. And it means mostly male.
Gender role is existing everywhere and in everyday– like farm in this poem. From this poem, people can get the opportunity to re-think gender role in our usual living.
- from Seed Catalogue, Robert Kroetsch