Analysis of Rupi Kaur’s Poetry

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Rupi Kaur is an Indian born Canadian poet best known for her debut book titled Milk and Honey, published in 2014, which the poems in this anthology are taken from. She immigrated to Canada with her family when she was just four years old, and turned to draw and painting since she was unable to speak English very well. Later, she started writing poetry and while in college, she began to share her writing on Tumblr and Instagram. Kaur received a degree in rhetoric and professional writing at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and shortly afterward, she published her first book, titled Milk and Honey.

In that collection of poems, she addressed a variety of themes, but the ones that struck me the most were about her portrayal of feminism. Strength, self-worth, self-love is often the epitome of those poems. Rupi’s confessional poetry allows me to reflect on my own life and wonder if I can accept the way I am. Her work has given me the motivation to continue being who I am and not compromising my identity for anyone else; Rupi Kaur has shown me how to truly love myself.

A woman’s body isn’t the most beautiful thing about her because she is so much more than that. I feel that this poem relates to not just me, but to all the women in this day and age where we are constantly either comparing ourselves to other women or are being compared. We live in a world where magazines and billboards are covered with images of what the ideal woman’s body should look like: small waist, thigh gap, long legs, and the list goes on. It feels amazing to know that something real such as my bravery and intelligence makes me beautiful, not something superficial like skin.

Rupi Kaur utilizes the metaphor “when your spirit has crushed mountains” (7) to reassert her belief that there is more to a woman than what she looks like. The “spirit” represents the woman’s passion and determination and the “mountains” symbolize the obstacles that keep her from reaching that goal; the image of this woman’s spirit-crushing mountains illustrates an image of strength in the face of adversity. This metaphor helps the reader visualize Rupi’s point– a woman’s brain and the things she does are more important than her physical features– and conveys it in a more effective way than if she were to just say it.

Never let someone tell you to quiet down or restrain your spirit because to be passionate is to be strong and to allow people to walk all over you is to be weak. I am constantly worried about what people will think of me if I express my opinions. Rupi Kaur tells me to stand up for what I believe in and not care what other people think; because the only opinion I should care about is my own.

Enjambment is employed throughout this poem to display that that despite being suppressed, the woman continues to express her beliefs; “you tell me to quiet down cause/… but I was not made with a fire in my belly/ soi could be put out” (1, 3-4). The lack of punctuation displays that this “fire” or passion keeps blazing within even though others tell her “to quiet down” because they do not agree with it. This use of enjambment gives this poem a rant-like allure and adds to the defensive and passionate nature of the poem; the author is defending her right to speak freely without worrying about being judged for her beliefs. Rupi wants the readers to know that they are entitled to their own opinions and it is their responsibility to express them because they were formed for a reason.

You do not need someone else to make you feel complete; you must find it within yourself to feel whole and accept it. Sometimes, I try to find approval from others and to just fit in somewhere; the reason I do it is to find a “home” or somewhere I feel safe. However, after reading this poem, I have realized searching was pointless because I can’t feel complete with someone else; I need to feel that way with myself.

Rupi Kaur applies alliteration in this poem to generate a comfortable mood in which the audience feels safe and calm: “… I stopped searching for a home within others” (1). The “s” sound is used very often, and because of its smooth sound, it creates a soft, sweet tone that adds to the poem’s allure. Rupi doesn’t want the audience to just read about what the sweet satisfaction of finally being able to love yourself feels like, she wants them to experience it as well, and the use of alliteration beautifully conveys the feeling of content the author received when she allowed herself to feel that way.

You do not need a guy to make you feel whole. I feel that many women changing their appearance, personality, or way they live their lives just for one person’s approval because they feel like they are not complete without them, but that should not be the case. Someone else can make our lives better, but you must first be happy on your own.

Anaphora is used to place emphasis on the woman’s ability to feel whole without depending on anyone else: “I want to be so complete/ I could…” (4-5). The word “i” is repeated multiple times to remind the reader that feeling full is an individual effort; no one else can make you feel that way. Because the poem is written in the first person, it seems more personal and the reader can imagine themselves as the woman in it. Rupi Kaur wants women to realize that they do not have to keep searching for a piece missing from their lives because it has actually always been a part of them; once they realize that they will finally feel “complete.”

Do not let anyone change you to make you more “appealing” because if they do not like you for who you are, they are not your friends. Sometimes, people let others try and transform them into something they are not just to be more socially or physically appealing. I was once one of those people, subjected by peer pressure to alter my looks to please others; Rupi Kaur showed me that they never wanted to be my friend, and that was their loss, not mine.

Rupi Kaur employs imagery to remind the audience not to change themselves to satisfy others: “you have a responsibility/ to remain hungry/ vast and rippling” (9-11). If this phrase is taken literally, it means that you do not have to starve yourself to fit a certain body type that pleases others; this image of being “vast and rippling” relays that you are allowed to eat and don’t have to be as skinny as a supermodel to make people like you. The imagery in this poem helps the reader envision Rupi’s point that you should not modify yourself to make others happy, and if they don’t like that, then it is their loss.


Cite this paper

Analysis of Rupi Kaur’s Poetry. (2021, Sep 17). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/analysis-of-rupi-kaurs-poetry/



Is Rupi Kaur's work poetry?
Yes, Rupi Kaur's work is poetry. Her work often deals with themes of love, loss, trauma, and healing.
What is Rupi Kaur's message?
Rupi Kaur is a spoken word artist and author. Her message is one of empowerment, particularly for women and girls.
What is the poem she is water about?
The poem is about the speaker's love for another person. They compare their love for this person to water, which is essential for life.
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