Critical Analysis of the Poem “Looking Glass” by Kamala Das

Critical Analysis of the poem “Looking Glass” by Kamala Das


The Looking Glass holds up the image of woman’s dependence on her man and shows how the woman gave her everything away, starting from her body to her trust, to the male. Her dependence is also seen, as she is in an intimate relation with the man and so she wants to show him her womanhood. The dependence on her male may lead her to a tough life where she has to live without the support and love of her man.

According to the poet, it is easy to get the love of the man, but to live with that love for whole life is not assured. She also reflects the helplessness of the woman as it reflects the desires of the woman. By the sentence, “Gift him all” she is saying to women to give everything that makes the women to their “superior” men. Here the idea of the gift is totally used in the sense of surrender.

The structure of the poem seems like a lyric poetry because of the strong feelings and thought of the poet. The poet uses “nude” as a metaphor that means even in nude. It means if a man departure, a woman has to make her sexual life “drab” and “destitute” because she can’t give her “man’s” place to anyone else.  Here, she uses irony tone to praise the male ego by admiring a man’s ability to draw attention to her own soft, feminine self. A constant use of alliteration is also observed in “wants as a woman” (2-3), “so that he sees himself the stronger one” (4), “burnished brass”(24), “drab and destitute”(24) etc.

The poem concurrently demonstrates the excellences as well as deficiencies of the human body. She also balances the secrets of men and women and the balance encompasses of the idea like a looking glass.