Lucinda Roy, in her poem ‘Points of View’ refers to different points of view of a modernised world and a non modernised world about the same subject of water. These differences are highlighted by using a third person view point of women who travel long distances for water daily and having a contrasting first person point of view of the speaker who attains water with ease not knowing the importance of it. Roy uses the technique of points of view also to show her need to go back to the traditional way of life of the unmodernised world. In this poem the poet also makes an underlying reference to the supression of women. The tone of the poem changes as it flows from stanza to the next. It develops from an air of pity to the tone of a satisfied person.
The first stanza, written in third person describes how women strive to take water home. The poem starts with ‘Even now, women bend to rivers’ (L1, stanza 1) which shows that even in modern days in this non-modernised part of the world women are facing this difficulty. Here there is an underlying reference made to the role of women in society from the younger generation to the elder generation. This also shows that women have to do the hard work even in the present society in the unmodernised part of the world as they seem to be expected to do so. In the first stanza, Roy almost describes them as ‘life givers’ as she mentions ‘they scoop up life and offer it To men or to their children […] blistered cooking pots’ (L 2-4, stanza 1). The poet here has also used water as a metaphor for life which shows key importance of water as a source for life. The word ‘bend’ is repeated twice in the first stanza. ‘women bend to rivers,’ (L1, stanza 1) and ‘women bend to see themselves in rivers’ (L7, stanza 1). This repetition shows that the poet wants to emphasis that women almost worship water by bending down to respect it.
Throughout this poem water is depicted as an almost evil beast. The first indication to this in the first stanza is made when the poet mentions ‘water sucks them in, catchting the wild geometry of the soul’. This shows that in the unmodernised part of the world’s view point, water is an evil creature whilst in the modernised world according to the second stanza this beast is ‘tamed from metal spouts encased’ (L16, stanza 2) and the speaker can ‘compartmentalize the beast in ice’ (L18, stanza 2). It seems that the poet suggests this ‘tamed’ and ‘encased’ beast is weak in the modernised world. The catching of “unsteady faces in buckets” and the ‘fluid faces brimming [from] wells’ (L12, stanza 1) denotes the lack of control the women have over their life. Their role in life sucks them in just as “water sucks them in.” (L9, stanza 1)
Yet even though the speaker can attain water with ease in the modernised world, the poet seems to imply that she needs to revert back to the point of view of the women in the unmodernised part of the world as she states ‘Tomorrow I must go again to find it’ (L20-21, stanza 2) and ‘In slow genuflections ease water into round bowls’ (L24, stanza 2) This shows that the poet appreciates the traditional way of life of the women described in the first stanza.
Also the poets choice of words, also insinuate as though she is looking for something found in her past or her culture. Further evidence to this idea is given as she mentions that ‘I will swim in rivers thick with time’ (L21-22, stanza 2) The poet writes these lines in future tense which shows that she would wish to move back in time to rediscover her roots. The poet describes this journey that she wishes to take to her past as an ‘intense immersion. A new baptism free of metaphor’ (L31-32, stanza 2). This shows that reverting to her traditional life where she has to go and find water to be an ‘intense immersion’. By using the word ‘baptism’, Roy suggests that it would be a new beginning for her.
By using a combination of these techniques, the poet manages to give a message to the reader that is not to take everything for granted. Through this poem Roy also portrays the role of women in the society that she wants to take part of.