'Glass" by Kamala Das: Summary and Analysis

A confessional Poem, Describing Kamala Das’s Experience of the Sexual Act

The poem was published in 1973 in Kamala Das’s third volume of poems which was entitled “The Old Playhouse and Other Poem”. The word “glass” has here been used as a metaphor for a women who is easily shattered and here describes her frustration , verging on despair , because of her disappointing experience of sex and the sexual act . It is yet another confessional poem because Kamala Das here gives expression to feelings which most women in a similar circumstance or in a similar predicament would keep strictly to themselves. She speaks of a man who, wanting to perform the sexual act with her, had drawn her towards himself rudely and hastily, treating her as “an armful of splinters”. His behavior, she says, had hurt her and caused her much pain. She felt like broken glass .Subsequently too she received the same kind of treatment from her other lovers, with the result that she developed a dislike for all of them. She then sought only sexual gratification from men with whom she performed the sexual act, and she did not expect, or offer, any real love in the process. However, she really missed the love which she had originally aimed at in performing the sexual act, beginning with her husband. It seemed to her that only her father had given her the love for which she had always husband.

True Love Only from Her Father and Her Grandmother

In this connection, we might mention that in a couple of other poems Kamala Das recalls the love which her grandmother had given her. This means that only her father and her grandmother had given her the love which she failed to receive from anybody else in the whole of her life. All her sexual relationships with men proved disastrous failures because she received no real love true affection from any one of them.  

An Irregular Poem Containing Appropriate Metaphors

This poem is an irregular composition, while most of the lines are of moderate length but some consisting of only one word or two poems. However, there are a couple of very appropriats metaphors in the poem. Her calling herself as “an armful of splinters” is another good metaphor; and her regarding herself as a musical instrument on which her lovers could play the tunes which pleased them most is yet another good metaphor.