THE BANGLE SELLERS

Sarojini Naidu is a well known poet of India. She was known as ”The Nightingale of India”. Her poems are noted for their expression of various shades of romantic sensibilities and fervour. Naidu’s poems ensemble the elements of whole of the Indian culture and civilization. Her poems are the mirror of the time which she lived in. ”The Bangle Sellers” is no exception to the above ideas. It explores the life of Indian woman, the Indian cultures and traditions revolving around women. In its Indianness, this poem to similar to another poem of hers, ”In the Bazaars of Hyderabad”.

The poem begins with the speakers introducing themselves as the bangle sellers who sell their bangles at the temple fair. These bangle sellers are calling out people to buy their bangles for their daughters and wives. The Indianness of the setting and the poem is evident from the use of words like ”temple fair” and ”lustrous tokens of radiant lives”. A temple fair is a typical Indian setting because of its rich cultures of temples and temple goers. Bangles, in Indian culture, are associated with happiness and prosperity and bought on special occasions. Bangles are also an important ornament for beautification of women in Indian society.

The poet, through the bangles of different colours, talks about the different stages in the life of women. The second stanza talks about the maiden life of women. Naidu puts this idea into her readers with her choice of words. Words like ”maiden wrists”, ”buds that dream” and ”new born leaves” all depict something that is young. As mentioned earlier, different coloured bangles are worn by women in different stages of life. Silver and Blue coloured bangles like the mountain mist, or green coloured like the new leaves. Blue, Silver or Green coloured bangles are generally worn by young maidens.

In the third stanza, poet talks about bridal stage in the life of a women. Again words like ”bridal morn”, ”marriage fire”, ”bridal tear” and ”bridal laughter” signify this idea of the poet. The bangle seller states that the bangles which are yellow in colour like ”fields of sunlit corn” are perfect for a bride on her bridal morning. Bangles which are similar in colour to the marriage fire also represent the same. The words ”bridal laughter and bridal tears” are very striking. It expresses both her joy of starting a new life with her husband and the sorrow of leaving her parents behind. These words also convey the transition in life from maiden to a wife.

In the last stanza of the poem, the poet talks about the middle-aged women who has journeyed through her life. The purple and gold flecked grey bangles suit these women. The poet then, states what she perceives qualities of a good wife are. The attributes of a good wife, according to the poet, are that she should have raised her children well, she should have remained faithful to her husband and family. Also note should be made of the word ‘son‘, this could just be a coincident or as mentioned earlier, the representation of the time in which Sarojini Naidu lived where more preference was given to a male child. If we exclude the minor blip in the last, this poem is a celebration of female life.

The poem is filled with used of similes. The poet uses colours of bangles associates it to the different stages in the life of a women. While describing the colours suitable for maidens, the poet uses,
Silver and blue as the mountain mist”, and

Some are flushed like the buds that dream”
In the third stanza, the poet compares the colours of bangle for a bride to the ”fields of sunlit corn” and ”flame of her marriage fire”.
”Like her bridal laughter and bridal tear”

This simile is used to describe the joys and sorrows of getting married. Not only similes but metaphors are also used to make comparisons. In the first stanza, bangles the described as ”Rainbow-tinted circles of light” and ”shining loads”. Young maidens are compared to the ”buds that dream”.
The words ”buds that dream” is also an example of imagery as it presents before us an image of young girls dreaming of marriage. Other examples of imagery in the poem are ”mountain mist”, ”new born leaves” and ”flame of her marriage fire”. They enhance the beauty of the scene.
The poet uses anaphora while describing the ideal wife. The last three lines of the poem begin with the word ”and” to emphasize on the incidents marking woman a good wife. Alliteration is another literary device used by the poet. The /h/ sound in the lines
Or, rich with the hue of her heart’s desire”, and
Whose hands have cherished, whose love has blest
is an example of alliteration.

The Bangle Sellers is a lyric poem written in four stanzas of six line each. The rhyme scheme is ‘AABBCC‘. It follows no particular metrical style. There is no single speaker in the poem, though it may seem that there is only one speaker but it is not the case. The poet uses different speakers to give a ‘class essence’ to the bangle sellers. It has a definite structure. The first stanza acts as an introduction while the next three stanzas represent three different stages in the life of a women.