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16+ Mature Content

gratification is a privilege

by manilla

Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for mature content.

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Points: 2647
Reviews: 313

Sun Mar 31, 2019 4:09 pm
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TylynRae wrote a review...

Heya! First and foremost I really liked the theme behind this, I thought the story was intriguing. I had to reread it a couple of times to find any sort of rhythm. Isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I myself am working on making sure how I speak the poetry comes through in how it’s written so the reader can easily understand where emphasis needs to fall and what the rhythm is supposed to be. The formatting was definitely unique, again nothing wrong with that, tried to make my breaks at the end of the line and it didn’t quite line up for me. Overall a solid piece of work, I think just a teensy bit of alteration to the formatting and it’ll be ironclad!

manilla says...

Thanks for the review!

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354 Reviews

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Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:50 am
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EditorAndPerks wrote a review...

Hey, there manilla. Thanks for requesting a review. Hope this helps! (Also, this turned out way longer than I thought it would be, sorry!)

This is interesting. The theme of what I assume is that a woman ought to "flaunt" or "use" her natural beauty to advance in the world, whether that's something believed by a lot of people, is something that's surely been more "pushed" towards younger generations in the last few years.

I think the formatting of this is certainly bold and draws attention from the reader, which I think also helps with the message of perhaps showing how this type of idea/raising a child on caring about what others' think can affect someone even when they've grown up. The punctuation used here almost distracts me a bit, as there's something going on in nearly every line of this poem.

Next up, I want to talk about the rhyme scheme, as there does appear to be one. I typically stay away from rhymes, as I usually feel like lines get tilted or sound awkward even reading in one's mind. Here, I think what gets me most perplexed is that there doesn't appear to be a rhyme at all in the second stanza. As of right now, I'm not too sure why that is, or why the last line of the first stanza also doesn't rhyme with anything else.

Finally, the capitalization here is interesting as well. Every line has a capital letter, even one that's divided by a semi-colon and would, in other situations, be naturally lower-cased. I assume this could be to add to the overall effect of trying to explain how vying for looks or encouraging one's child/grand-child/family member to resort to relying on their looks cannot be a great thing, by emphasizing each and every line.

From there, let's go over these lines. The first stanza has some interesting points to look at. The use of "wisewomen" and not "wisemen" or "wise people" raises some questions from me. Is this to show that femme-presenting/mothers/women-in-general are more prone to be telling a daughter/girl that they should care about their own looks and how others perceive them? The second part of that line, in "you're a blessing" which makes me wonder about this - how young of age could this person be that they're already being told, "be grateful for how beautiful/pretty you are." That's some culture there.

This line in whole is nicely put together and makes for an interesting opening thought, to go from what one's superiors are telling them. I think the comma at the end of this works fine.

Continuing on, the second and third lines make me a little creeped out, specifically for the jump from "little girl" to "when she starts undressing" as I really hope it's quite a long time in between those scenes. "Life's a gift easily taken" has a neat rhythm to it, but I'm not quite sure what the play-on-words mean, with whether one can easily kind of lose their way/life in something/one else, or if the meaning is deeper than that. A quick grammar note is I would put a comma and not a semi-colon for line two, and that the dashes at the end of number three kind of distract me. I'd go for either a comma or simply not anything there.

I don't think that the fourth line, more of an insert than a proper line, really adds to this poem. It's distracting from the rest of the stanza, especially from the fifth line, and I don't know, the heavily formatted - double parenthesizes and italics save for "her" almost seems too much. I do like the emphasis use on "her" but I don't think the line really adds much, besides, I guess, the point of saying that "pretty" people are lumped all together and aren't seen as unique?

The fifth line, in its current state as after the fourth line, seems really disjointed, especially that I'm a bit perplexed by the wording of "for the people she cannot give a damn about." I think what throws me off here is that the term isn't "couldn't" it's "cannot" which makes me think of someone forcing her not to care, which doesn't seem the point of the poem. The point seems more to me that she's being forced to care whether she wants to or not. In addition, the rhyme ends in line four, leaving for a weird-sounding final line, in my tastes.

Overall, I think this first stanza does get me to think about how people can be treated or raised, with certain parents caring about looks, especially from their own children. I think the different views (addressing the reader/subject as "you" but then having lines from the subject's own view, and then switching to a more narrative side of using "her" and "she") are an easier way to fall out of this poem and get confused by what's really going on. I also feel like this stanza is disjointed, with the double dashes appearing to jump from the third line's ideas to what seems fairly connected in line five to have a more simple comma linking them instead.

For stanza two, I think the sudden short line does catch the reader's attention, however, I don't know if I quite like this transition or the repetition of "people" as a pretty generic word. I think I'd like a synonym here, even something with a stronger diction, to really connect the reader to picture those obsessed with looks and wanting things from girls and women the like. Something such as hecklers, or nay-sayers or just a word that means something, if that makes sense. The colloquialism of "hoot and holler" brings an interesting shift to the tone, along with the lines of perhaps connecting with the reader, or even trying to get them to sympathize with the main subject character. I think having "'bout her" tilts that tone even more to the casual side, which I'm not sure if it works with the seriousness of this topic.

Continuing on, I do like the title quote, however, I don't know if I like the semi-colon right splat after that line, especially because I feel like that's an important thing for the reader to go over for a second. With that being the title, with the subject matter being on people being raised to be praised for their looks, I think leaving "gratification [...]" should be on its own line, then transitions into the next portion. I think the insertion of the direct thought by the character in "she's earned it" kind of works here, but it throws off the view a bit, as it seems like the reader's being told this from someone watching her grow up, in a sense.

The next line of "it wins all the confidence" connects oddly with the following line as well, at least to me, from going from a long line, long line, to line cut completely in a third, to then finish on another long line. I'm a bit confused by the last line, as it connects with "kind words" being different than gratification. I suppose those can mean different things, but then I'm thrown off by "ads" and kind of wish for an example of that to then compare sentiments and things like that. I think what could work here would be for more specifics, for more concrete images of these things.

I think the tone shifts significantly in the second stanza, and I think it adds some depth, but I think it also kind of detracts from the overall view the reader is supposed to be getting.

On to the last stanza now, I'm a bit perplexed by why the rhyme has come back, and not in the middle stanza. I do like the tying back in with the opening line, of going back to the "wisewomen" as that really does a decent job of really portraying what the meaning of this poem could be. "Beauty isn't for everybody" is an interesting way of saying that not everyone is born with "beauty" or born as a "beautiful" person or the definition of what "beauty" means. I think using "everybody" instead of perhaps the sort-of more formal "everyone" does indicate a more casual sense, which ties in better with the previous stanza, but I'm curious to see what type of view the reader's really coming from. This seems to weave between an observer with no ties to the subject, while then jotting back in with direct lines from the character.

The second line ends in a weird way, with a colon of all things instead of what I expected to be a question mark. I think having this line behave as a question, as a "thought-over" idea could work better, since then the next line acts like the character is talking to herself, which works, using the second-person for the last two lines. I do find it interesting that this mentions "your mama" directly for the first time, and not an undisclosed "wisewoman" or a family member. This can help the reader get a glimpse of what could be this person's mother speaking about how they have to use their beauty to get somewhere in the world. The final line hurts a little, as it does seem to be true for a decent amount of people that care about what others say, even faceless, nameless others that don't matter, but to some people they still do. Leaves a lot to think about.

Overall, I think you've got a really serious issue in this, the tone shifts in an interesting way, and there are some neat lines in this that I think you could expand on and get more specific with examples and overall images. Nicely done.

manilla says...

Thank you so much for the helpful review!

manilla says...

This is a poem that's supposed to make you uncomfortable, but thanks for looking beyond that.

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159 Reviews

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Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:33 pm
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Honora says...

This is really good. It really speaks truth. Good job! :)

manilla says...

<3 Merci!

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Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:32 am
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hopep01 says...

Beautifully written.

manilla says...

Thank you!

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Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:40 pm
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Anniepoo103 says...

Woah! I love it, very well written

manilla says...


Courage, my soul! Now learn to wield the weight of thine immortal shield...
— Andrew Marvell