The Poem “Conjoined” by Judith Minty – English Essay
Many read poems and wonder what they mean. Many have trouble just trying to see what the Poet meant with their examples. Some never understand what is trying to
be brought out from the words placed down in writing for all to read. This poem does not have that problem with its communicating exactly what it is about.
A troubling piece of writing that goes around in circles with definitions and analogies of a very unhappy union of two people is what this is. Most people would be happy in their marriages and write uplifting and inspired love ballads. This poem is clearly an example of a marriage gone wrong. Agony over the joining of two people in marriage is the deep underlying theme. The whole poem by Judith Minty is one huge analogy of an unhappy marriage.
In the very first line, the onion is called a monster. It is two onions only “joined by a transparent skin.” (2) The skin is the joining of marriage of the two onions. The deformity of the two onions “each half-round, then flat and deformed where it pressed and grew together”(3-4) puts a slight tilt on the joining. Where the two onions come into contact with each other they have warped and deformed. This transparent skin has held and warped the two onions into the monster of one union.
The Chinese Siamese twins used are another example of the deformity of marriage. “Or like those freaks, Chang and Eng, twins joined at the chest by skin and muscle, doomed” (7-8). This line does a great job describing the agony and pain of being joined physically with someone. These twins go though life never alone with one moment of peace. To feel the agitation of knowing they can never be separated from another is beyond the comprehension of most people. Such a permanent joining of two uniquely different beings drives the image of suffering into the mind.
The deformed calf with the two heads from the result of a birth defect also shows another example of marriage. “An accident, like the two-headed calf rooted in one body, fighting to suck at its mother’s teats;” (5-6) shows such deep sorrow and anguish. The use of such a pitiful creature as an example again reaches inside to dig out the feelings of remorse and pity. A more perfect case scenario for a bad marriage could not be found.
The three examples of bad deformed unions lead into the third stanza where the real story of the unhappy marriage becomes known. The woman feels the man moving around in the house below her. She knows he can sense her moves. “Do you feel the skin that binds us together as we move, heavy in this house?”(10-11) is another reference of two combined into one. They slink around on different levels of their home as if hiding from one another, but know exactly where the other is at all times. This shows that they are connected under the skin by their marriage just like the onion example. They are unable to be separated just like the twins example.
Such anguish is felt in these words: “To sever the muscle could free one, but might kill the other.”(12-13) The reference of being cut apart and separating the two is brought out so plainly and so skillfully that feelings of remorse surface for the pair. Escape is out of the question as the couple is connected. This escape though has entered into mind even with the cost of the life of the other member.
“We cannot escape each other.” (15) The perfect ending for this dreary poem. It is the logical conclusion and finalizes the whole assumption of this poem. The two becoming one in matrimony, forever joined now under the skin. The finality of the whole poem of the two becoming one “Conjoined” entity brings such gloom over the reader. There is nothing to be done, as there is no escape.
Many poems about marriage are full of life and happiness, but this one has a cloud of gloom and doom hanging over it. It is a sad piece of artwork that shows the unhappy side of a bad marriage. Pity and remorse are two emotions that come to the surface when reading. A short and compact poem that has many emotions packed in very tightly. It forces thoughts and revisions to come into mind.