Snow White and the Seven Deadly Sins

Tough Love!, Versification

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by R.S. Gwynn

Good Catholic girl, she didn’t mind the cleaning.
All of her household chores, at first, were small
And hardly labors one could find demeaning.
One’s duty was one’s refuge, after all.

And if she had her doubts at certain moments
And once confessed them to the Father, she
Was instantly referred to texts in Romans
And Peter’s First Epistle, chapter III.

Years passed. More sinful every day, the Seven
Breakfasted,grabbed their pitchforks, donned their horns
And sped to contravene the hopes of heaven,
Sowing the neighbors’ lawns with tares and thorns.

She set to work. Pride’s hundred looking-glasses
Ogled her dimly, smeared with prints of lips;
Lust’s magazines lay strewn–bare T’s and asses
And flyers for “devices”–chains, cuffs, whips.

Gluttony’s empties covered half the table,
Mingling with Avarice’s cards and chips,
And she’d been told to sew a Bill Blass label
In the green blazer Envy’d bought at Gyp’s.

She knelt to the cold master bathroom floor as
If a petitioner before the Pope,
Retrieving several pairs of Sloth’s soiled drawers,
A sweat-sock and a cake of hairy soap.

Then, as she wiped the Windex from the mirror,
She noticed, and the vision made her cry,
How much she’d grayed and paled, and how much clearer
Festered the bruise of Wrath beneath her eye.

“No poisoned apple needed for this Princess,”
She murmured, making X’s with her thumb.
A car door slammed, bringing her to her senses:
Ho-hum. Ho-hum. It’s home from work we come.

And she was out the window in a second,
In time to see a Handsome Prince, of course,
Who, spying her distressed condition, beckoned
For her to mount (What else?) his snow-white horse.

Impeccably he spoke. His smile was glowing.
So debonair! So charming! And so Male.
She took one step, reversed, and without slowing
Beat it to St. Anne’s where she took the veil.

Make each moment count double,
~Joi

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10 comments… add one
  • shelly Link

    hello. just wondering if you could give me some insite on what this poem means? Snow white and teh seven deadly sins

  • Hi, Shelly – like so many literary works, I think this poem’s open to interpretation. I’ve heard people swear up and down that it’s about an adulterous wife (frankly I have no idea how they come about that conclusion though), and I’ve heard others say it’s about a teen girl living in sin.

    Personally, I think it’s a tribute to the author’s brilliance that so many people can get so many meanings from the same poem.

    The author, R.S. Gwynn, personifies each of the seven deadly sins by giving them each a personality or profile. (And brilliantly so, I might add!)

    My overactive, but literal, imagination limits my interpretation. When I read the poem, I picture a Snow White in all her pale splendor, living with 7 sinful, vile little men. She comes to associate sin with the male species, so flees from the Prince at the end – preferring to become a nun instead.

    Gotta admit, each time I read the poem, I hope for a different ending!

    Hope that helps! If not, let me know, I’ll give it some more thought and see what else I can come up with! ~Joi

  • Nichole Link

    Do you know some facts about the poet’s backround. (R. S. Gwynn)

  • Do you know any facts about R. S. Gwynn.

  • Jess Link

    I read this poem for a school project and I just couldn’t figure out what the poem means. I know that it is about a girl having to live with seven men with characteristics of the seven sins. However that is about all I could understand. Could you please help me out a little. I truely, even though the project is done, want to know what the poem means.

  • Ry Link

    Hey Shelly,
    This is a very complex poem… i won’t lie there is a good lot going on in it. But from the top to the bottom, it is the life of a normal girl that becomes more and more engulfed in sin. With the whole “grabbed their pitchforks, donned their horns
    And sped to contravene the hopes of heaven” if you didn’t get that she was living with 7 actual devils then… haha i don’t know how much help i can be. This poem is about feminism, and how the bible says woman are to be subservient(refer to Romans
    And Peter’s First Epistle, chapter III). Though she cant help but be sinful, as she looks upon the mirror in the 7th paragraph the wrath she has build up in her mind (beneath her eye) she lets out upon herself. She thinks of herself as ugly as she alludes to Snow White and the poisoned apple in the 8th paragraph. What she should do at the end of this vignette is “mount” the prince’s horse? The fact that the author chimes in with the (what else?) makes you question, what else this ‘mount’ could be referring to. With enough thought the answer is quite obvious given the feminist nature of the vignette. So in conclusion the woman in the poem loves trust in men and becomes a nun.

    I hope that was of some level of help…
    -Ry

  • Below is a link to a page with some interesting information about R.S. Gwynn.

    http://www.thehypertexts.com/R.%20S.%20(Sam)%20Gwynn%20Poet%20Poetry%20Picture%20Bio.htm

    Hope that helps!

  • Kathryn Link

    It’s not seven men, seven devils, feminism, or her sinful behavior; it’s about a woman who is trying to abide by the morals of the Catholic Church. Her husband is the sinner, but because she has been taught to obey, there isn’t much she can do but clean up the remainders of his sins when he leaves for work. When he returns from work, she remembers why she married him (he’s gorgeous) but she knows that underneath his exterior is a sinner that is a lost cause. She “takes the veil” (becomes a nun) because it’s the only way out of the abusive relationship that would not condemn her to hell.
    Hope that helps.

  • K Link

    I got from this poem that it’s about a girl who grows up and is swept off her feet by a charming prince. however the “fairy tale” spell is soon broken and the author goes on to show how her husband represents all of the seven deadly sins. Her husband is a drunk, a slob, abuses her, etc. then at the end she finally escapes from her abusive husband and returns to the church where she was married to become a nun/ seek refuge.

  • b Link

    this poem is about a girl who is dissapointed in her relationship with her husband. “And if she had her doubts at certain moments
    And once confessed them to the Father, she
    Was instantly referred to texts in Romans
    And Peter’s First Epistle, chapter III.” this stanza is referring to the bible verse that says women should obey their husbands. instead of the seven dwarves it is the seven deadly sins which is what her husband does for example the tits and asses part is about her finding pornography and she according to the bible is supposed to “obey” her husband. but at the end when it says beat it to St. Annes where she took the vail, it means that she went to the church and became a nun instead of divorcing because that is against the catholic religion.

    hope this helped. we discussed this poem in class. otherwise i would have assumed something completely different

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