Advice to Women Poem Summary

Advice to Women Poem Summary

An Introductory Note:[Advice to Women Poem Summary ]

Eunice de Souza’s short and terse poem ‘Advice to Women’ was published in her collection of poems Ways of Belonging on 15th March, 1990. There is a strange comfort in reading the poems of Eunice de Souza, particularly on days that bring despair and isolation. In her razor-sharp, no-nonsense style, she articulates a fiercely independent code of survival that defies convention.

In fact, her poetry not only invites, but also celebrates the misfits – boisterous children and snarky adults who resist being molded into the mundane.

Substance :

The poem “Advice to women” is written by the poet Eunice de Souza. The poem as understood by the name is women-centric. She says that women are the beauty of the world and the beauty is caged under the delusion of persecution for flying.

She says that women often find happiness in playing the major role of daughter, wife, mother in her whole life. The poem Advice to Women by Eunice D’Souza compares a cat’s arrogantly indifferent attitude towards life, the universe and all things to what a woman’s reaction should be when rejected by her lover.

An Analytical Summary :

I The speaker advises the women to keep cats as pets in order to make themselves patient and peaceful. As they get restless in the little nuances or indifferences of their partners or lovers. Therefore they start feeling alone and neglect themselves.

II. Women think their lovers are trying to avoid them. So, whenever they think like this, the speaker advised them to keep their attention to the pet cat. In this way, they can easily overlook the lovers’ behaviour and won’t be restless as before.

III. If the women notice the behaviour of a cat, they always come back to their ‘litter trays’ or the domestic place whenever they feel the need. The lovers will also come back in their life if they keep patience.

IV. The speaker also advises the women not to lose their mind and think of annoying or cursing any other person if their lover is busy in some other things. Instead they should talk to them and handle the situation carefully.

V. The green big eyes of the cat can help women how to keep calm and cool of mind while living alone.

Paraphrase :

Keep cats if you want to learn how to cope with the indifferent attitude of your lover. Indifferences should be dealt with in a free spirit. Cats always return to their familiar litter trays. Don’t curse the enemies. The stare in the great green eyes of a cat is constant and firm. It will teach you how to keep calm, patience and stillness if you need to live alone.

Annotations :

Cope with adjust, accommodate; otherness of lovers: other need based on love, passivity, indifference. N.B. It expresses carefully careless love, cat-like or feline kind of love; cuss out: getting annoyed, malign, taunt; perpetual stare of surprise : constantness or firmness in the eyes of a cat. N.B. This is a tongue-in-cheek comment on the feline looks of lovers or men after their need is over; die alone: live the whole life alone. N.B. It’s a poignant expression of loneliness felt by women that also points to the poet’s life itself.

Title :

De Souza, herself, prefers to stay single because, as she states in her poem ,’ I Choose Not to Marry You, Love’: I choose not to marry you, love/ There is poison in my tongue / I maul, I calcify. I am rib again./ I touch the world/ stars turn black holes. The otherness of women and how to adopt loneliness is well presented in her poems Advice to Women’ and ‘ Dutch Paintings’. Hence, her ‘ Advice to Women’, particularly to lonely women, is: Keep cats/ if you want to learn to cope with/ the otherness of lovers/That state of perpetual surprise/ in those great green eyes/ will teach you to die alone.


This is a really off-beat poem – comparing a cat’s haughtily indifferent attitude towards life, the universe and everything (it’s always there and it’s all mine – let, it be) to what a woman’s reaction must be when jilted by a lover. As a woman, de Souza’s works engage in the cause of women. Her writings show concern for the plight of Indian women from different social backgrounds : a maid, a daily wage worker or an isolated housewife. Her poems commonly explore the loss, alienation and isolation of women. The ‘Advice to Women’ is no different.


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