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“The Looking-Glass' by Kamala Das: Summary and Analysis

How a Woman Should Behave While Going to Bed With a Man

In this poem, Kamala Das offers a few suggestions to women about how to get the maximum possible pleasure out of her sexual experiences. A woman, says the poetess, should make no secret of her sexual requirements when she is going to have sexual intercourse with a man A woman should not, for instance, feel shy about admiring a man’s body and limbs when she sees him in the nude. In fact, a woman should stand naked before a mirror and ask her partner also to stand naked by her side so that they can enjoy his feeling of physical superiority over her by virtue of his bodily strength.

A woman should enjoy a feeling of her own superiority over him because her body is softer and lovelier than his. A woman should then note the perfection of the man’s limbs, and should note his eyes becoming red when the water enters his eyes while he is having a bath. She should note the shy manner in which he walks upon the bathroom floor, dropping his towel because of his loose grip on it, and she should note the jerky way in which he urinates. A woman should not only admire the man’s symmetrical and strong limbs, but also his movements including his jerky manner of ending his urination. All these details about the man’s body and his movements should actually please a woman and make her think that this particular man is the only one who can satisfy her fully and in every way when they lie together in bed.

How She Should Behave in Bed

The poetess then suggests that a woman should give to her lover everything that she is capable of giving to a lover in bed. She should make it possible for him to smell her long hair and the sweat between her breasts; she should let him feel the shock of coming into contact with her warm menstrual blood if she having her monthly period at the time, and she should make him conscious of all her sexual cravings which she wants him to satisfy. There is nothing difficult in doing all this, says the poetess. A woman would find it easy to do all these things if she sheds her shyness and timidity and behaves boldly in the matter.

Her Predicament After the Man Has Left Her for Good


The poetess then points out that the real difficulty for a woman lies in the fact that, if this particular lover, with whom she has had a most pleasurable experience of the sexual act, leaves her, never to come back, she would find it impossible to get a substitute for him. And, if she does not find a substitute, her life would become meaningless to her. Her eyes would keep searching for somebody like her departed lover, but she would not find anyone exactly like him. Her predicament would lead her into a state of total despair so that her body, which was at one time irresistibly alluring, would then lose its charm and would become unexciting.

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