Linda Pastan

(1932 - / New York / United States)

Marks


My husband gives me an A
for last night's supper,
an incomplete for my ironing,
a B plus in bed.
My son says I am average,
an average mother, but if
I put my mind to it
I could improve.
My daughter believes
in Pass/Fail and tells me
I pass. Wait 'til they learn
I'm dropping out.

Submitted: Wednesday, January 07, 2004

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  • Rookie - 0 Points Leann Roderick (3/21/2014 10:45:00 PM)

    It sounds to me like you need to take yourself on a vacation and not even think about what your being graded upon.. Give your self an A* to daydream and make one of those day dreams come true. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie warner treuter (8/19/2010 2:20:00 AM)

    I like this kind of meaningful clever fun. If they told me my marks I would snap back at them: Who asked you? But then I'm a man. Does that make a difference? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Lipsa Acharyya (1/8/2010 12:40:00 PM)

    i am a little surprised as to why people seem so convinced that linda is not contemplating leaving her family. i think the only reason could be the idea that leaving ones family is an inappropriate response for a woman undergoing daily drudgery, that the threshold is too low to warrant leaving the family, ...but thats what we assume.....for someone undergoing the same stuff day in and day out, with no life of ones own, it could well warrant something drastic as suicide or leaving ones family. i say this coz i prize my freedom a lot n certainly wudnt mind contemplating leaving my family or suicide if all life meant was living for others.. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Nancy Avila (4/10/2009 2:07:00 PM)

    I believe that this poem is speaking about the common mother and housewife's daily battle to obtain respect for what they do from those closest to them.However I don't think that the part about 'dropping out' means that she will leave her family I believe it means that she will no longer take the marks she receives and that she will fight the system that believes that every mother should take the criticism she receives. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Alaina A. (2/27/2008 12:39:00 AM)

    The speaker is less than pleased with the idea of continually being judged, and the metaphor of marks (or grades) as a way of talking about her performance of family duties suggests her irritation... The list of her roles implies the many things expected of her.... The 3 different grading systems she shows, details the difficulties of multiple standards..... I dont believe she is leaving in any way...i believe it was her way of simply showing how she can defeat the system....had she wanted to surrender to the metaphor the family has thrusted upon her....not by killing herself or leaving her family, simply by defeating it with more humor...i love this poem and the way she ends it with humor of dropping out....though she wont...and cant. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Necile Acosta (1/30/2008 12:17:00 AM)

    This poem is all about a mother who is obviously leaving her family but, if you read deeper you will see that this poem represents teens in america. This poem is showing that even teens who have good grades and are doing well in school still dropout. Also that children watch there parents every step and move they make, and judge them accordingly so if the parents dont finish things in school then their children wont. This poem is actually an intresting poem you just have to dig to get a deeper meaning. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kelly K (2/1/2007 2:13:00 PM)

    For me dropping out didn't mean committing suicide or leaving her family. But instead about going against convention and finding your own way. No longer playing by the rules others have created but instead doing what is best for you. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Lola Van Morrison (6/8/2006 4:00:00 PM)

    I have studied and studied this poem over and over and still over again in English class. Everytime I realize something different than the last. I love the mood in this poem it's great. Thanks for the smile! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kelly Coley (4/4/2006 3:40:00 PM)

    All of these people are talking about how the poem makes them smile...it seemed un real to me, this poem shows a woman who isdebating leaving her family, or suicide, a woman who wants more out of life other than to be a soccer mom. She wants excitement. And why is it titled Marks and not grades perhaps she her self is a cutter or that the marks are a symbolism upon her symbolic profile. Think about it my friend and I pondered it for a while. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Scarlett Treat (2/8/2006 8:11:00 AM)

    Gypsy and Gina are doing their work, because they recommended you to me, and I love your work. Sorry you don't have 'message to the poet' site up, because I love your work. Well expressed, frightening sometimes, warm at times and scary at times. Well done. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Gina Onyemaechi (2/6/2006 4:48:00 AM)

    And I give you a distinction for this poem, Linda! ! ! I'd like you to know that it was Scarborough Gypsy who suggested me to read you. I'm just about to e-mail her to thank her for it. Regards. (Report) Reply

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