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Gwendolyn Brooks

(7 June 1917 – 3 December 2000 / Topeka, Kansas)

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Sadie and Maud


Maud went to college.
Sadie stayed home.
Sadie scraped life
With a fine toothed comb.

She didn't leave a tangle in
Her comb found every strand.
Sadie was one of the livingest chicks
In all the land.

Sadie bore two babies
Under her maiden name.
Maud and Ma and Papa
Nearly died of shame.

When Sadie said her last so-long
Her girls struck out from home.
(Sadie left as heritage
Her fine-toothed comb.)

Maud, who went to college,
Is a thin brown mouse.
She is living all alone
In this old house.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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  • Rookie - 393 Points Michelle Claus (9/8/2014 12:05:00 PM)

    I enjoy this easy-to-read poem, as well as the three comments that precede my own. Gwendolyn Brooks' poem, Sadie and Maud, reminds me that a simple rhyme and meter format, framing an easy-to-understand story, is all we need sometimes to enjoy a good poem - a good tale. We've all known folks like Sadie and Maud, and we can project our own selves onto one or the other, which gives this poem universal appeal. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jade Wolfe (9/16/2013 12:34:00 AM)

    I had to write a poem from this poem imitating the rhyme scheme, rhythm, and addressing the same theme. This is what I created:

    Maud stuck to the rules
    Sadie skipped class
    Sadie looked at life
    Through a magnifying glass.

    She didn't miss a sight
    Her glass burned every ant.
    Sadie forged ahead full-throttle,
    She never said, We can't.

    Two babies in tow
    No daddy around.
    Maud and Ma and Papa
    Couldn't help but frown.

    When Sadie's candlelight burnt out
    Her birds flown off at last
    (Sadie left as legacy
    Her magnifying glass.)

    Maud who followed all the rules,
    A bird who's wings were clipped,
    Never flew too far from home
    And now that's where she sits. (Report) Reply

    Rookie - 108 Points The Astronomer (9/8/2014 1:29:00 PM)

    Love this, the last bit resonates with me. Always following the rules, never taking a risk, will eventually leave you empty.

    Rookie - 393 Points Michelle Claus (9/8/2014 11:59:00 AM)

    Your answer to the original poem feels spot on.

    Veteran Poet - 4,978 Points Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (9/8/2014 11:33:00 AM)

    very good..i couldn't have said it better

  • Rookie Erica Paliuca (11/11/2007 11:25:00 PM)

    In Gwendolyn Brooks poem 'Sadie and Maud' the author is comparing two sisters lives. Maud is obviously the smarter of the two and therefor she goes to college, but then in the end she is the alone sister that is going to die alone in the old house. So how smart could she possibly be to condemn herself to a life of loneliness? Sadie is the favorite character in this poem because even though she didn't go to college and is an only mother of two, she is still the happy and free sister. When the author talks about Sadie's comb finding every strand, it is symbolizing how Sadie doesn't miss out on any fun in her life and how she lives it to the fullest. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Prakash Acharya (12/9/2004 11:48:00 PM)

    In the poem Sadie and Maude by Gwendolyn Brooks, she is showing difference between probably two sisters among whom one went to college (Maude) and other stayed at home (Sadie) . “Scarping life with a fine-tooth comb means living life in every way. “Her comb found her every strand” tell us that she lived life to the fullest. So, she is the happiest woman in all the land. She put her two babies name under her maiden name. This symbolizes that she is a single mother of two babies. Maude, ma and papa nearly died of shame because they are under the restriction and control by the rule of society. The symbolism of Sadie’s “fine-tooth comb”, as a heritage is a optimistic twist on the way she lived her life and the way her children will remember her and follow her. In contrast, the writer uses a simile “a thin brown mouse” comparing Maude to it because she is living all alone like a mouse lives in its hole. Maud who went to college is withering away in the emptiness of the social mold while Sadie is living dangerously setting up her own rules. (Report) Reply

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