Bequest Summary And Analysis No 1

Bequest Summary And Analysis


An Introductory Note :[Bequest Summary And Analysis]

Eunice de Souza’s notable poem ‘Bequest’ has been taken from her 1990 published collection Ways of Belonging: Selected Poems.

Substance :

As Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for the sake of human beings, their good, faith and rationality, de Souza also compares the women who sacrifice for the sake of their counterparts. Christ is the symbol of unfailing hope in Christianity. Likewise, women are a symbol of unfailing hope in the patriarchal society. As Christ let himself crucified to save humanity, women, too, let their dreams, their passions sacrifice to save the patriarchy or man. The poet has suggested women to stay away from this saviour complex. This pattern should end.

An Analytical Summary:

I. The poet starts out by referring to the picture of Christ with the bleeding heart held in his hand in every Catholic house. But she never liked the idea or the picture. II. There were many people whom she liked to whisper about except the hairdresser.

III. Some have recommended the speaker to strictly abide by the Catholic rules while others have suggested to keep closeness with time and distance. Only the hairdresser suggested to take the situation as it comes, meaning as it requires you to act.

IV. The speaker wishes to be like other so-called wise women of the society who are brainwashed by the patriarchal rules and standards. They smile and nod

dumbly and endlessly without understanding anything or discretion. They are like an artificial flower who says the next generation to learn to be the same dumb and dull person like them.

V. But, for the speaker, the time is now to act for the benefit of herself. She wishes to give willingly or sacrifice her heart as per her own wish. Even after sacrificing, if there remains something of it, like a spare kidney, she will pass it on to an enemy rather than the society.

Paraphrase :

In every Catholic house a picture of Christ with his bleeding heart is present that he holds with his hand. I used to dislike it. The only person about whom I don’t gossip is my hairdresser. Some people have suggested to follow traditions and customs sternly and others have advised to float as per will. The hairdresser only suggested tackling the situation as it demands.

He hands this suggestion out to me. I wish I belong to the ‘wise woman’ group who keeps on smiling endlessly, vacantly, like a plastic flower, asking to learn the same from them. But it is time to act charitably for myself. I would like to bequeath my heart like a spare organ to myself and to an enemy except others.

Annotations :

Bequest to give something willingly or to sacrifice; Christ : it is the iconic symbol of sacrifice to Christians; bleeding heart: denotes pain and suffering of sacrifice; ugh : an interjection expressing utter dislike or disgust; hairdresser : a person who cuts and styles hair as an occupation, a laborer. N. B. It represents the society here; wise woman : signifies those who are bound to the rules and regulations of the society by heart. N. B.

It’s a collective term for those all-knowing women who are brainwashed by the patriarchal ideology; plastic flower: a metaphor, bearing no originality. N. B. It’s a metaphorical expression for those women who blindly follow the patriarchal ideology, who are dehumanised and do not have any distinct identity of their own; act of charity: sacrifice; spare additional, extra.


Title :

‘Bequest’ means to give away or leave something willingly. Here the poetess talks about how Jesus Christ bequeathed his bleeding heart under crucifixion for the sake of humanity. His sacrifice is the symbol of unfailing hope. As Christ is the symbol of saviour and sacrificer, women, too, act as saviors to the men in a patriarchal society. They sacrifice their bleeding hearts, their self worth, just as well. But the poetess finally talks about bequeathing one’s heart for oneself only. There’s no one more precious than oneself.


In almost all of de Souza’s poems, we find the discomfort of women in the rulebound patriarchal society. As de Souza was herself a Christian, she in her poem ‘Bequest’, has questioned the age-old tradition of the Christian religion.  


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