Essay: A Mother In A Refugee Camp

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  • Subject area(s): English Literature
  • Price: Free download
  • Published on: 1st June 2012
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  • Number of pages: 2

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A Mother In A Refugee Camp

The three main poems, 'Remember',' A Mother in a Refugee Camp', and ' Do not go gentle into that good night' all evoke the emotion of death but they all have different techniques in order to achieve this. These poems share common threads and similarities, but they also show contrasts in their attitudes towards death. 'Poem at Thirty Nine', ' The Vacuum' and 'Do not stand at my grave and weep' also express the emotion of death sharing similarities with the main poems, but also contrasts in their attitudes towards death.
Death is expressed through the use of tone in each of the poems. The tone of 'Remember' in the octet is demanding. She is demanding her partner to remember her when she is gone. However, it changes significantly during the second half where her attitude fluctuates and becomes much more forgiving and hopeful. The tone of the octet is intense because the speaker is distressed and has a desire to be remembered after she dies. The intense tone is shown by the use of 'gone away'. The word' gone creates the feeling of loneliness and disparity. The speaker also uses the word, 'far' which suggests an extensive distance that she will travel. The extensive distance that she is referring to is death. The effect that 'gone far away' suggests that there will be no form of communication and will not be able to reach or see her, which implies death. Also, the repetition of the words, 'Remember me', emphasizes her urgency and desire to be remembered. Instead of just asking the addressee to remember her, the speaker is in fact, commanding him to remember her; she is forcing the addressee, which shows insistence and longing to be remembered. The speaker also mentions the phrase, 'It will be late to counsel then or pray'. The speaker argues that there will be no form of communication between them when she is dead therefore should 'Remember'. The word 'late' emphasizes the importance of remembering her because her partner will soon lose the power to talk to her after she encounters death. 'Remember' explores death by force showing urgency and desire to be remembered. 'Mother in a Refugee Camp' shares the common thread of the inevitability of death but the struggle to let go. Mother in a refugee camp is all about Chinua Achebe's problem when he faces a mother and a child and the mother keeps clinging on to her child and does not give up hope. The tone in ' A Mother' is created through the use of the strong vocabulary in turn creating a tragic atmosphere. Chinua Achebe uses strong vocabulary such as 'dried up lips' to demonstrate the struggle and the extent to which the child is suffering from starvation. The author also mentions 'Other mothers there had long ceased to care but not this one'. This shows the love and passion that the mother has for her child and the hopefulness and faith that remains in the mother's heart, despite the seriousness of the situation even after most people have given up. This shows that she will keep clinging on to her son disregarding everything that has occurred and keeping her faith strong. 'Remember' and ' A Mother' are very similar in the ways that they are reluctant to forget one another. In mother in a refugee camp, the mother is reluctant to let go of her child and keeps holding on. In 'Remember', the speaker insists on her partner not to forget her and to remember her and forces it upon his partner. 'Do not go gentle' is a poem written by a son in order for his father to fight against death and Dylan Thomas drives home the importance to live life fully. The use of imperative commands, 'Do not', 'Rage' and 'should' makes the tone of the poem, one of frustration, passion and anger. Thomas changes the ends of the words to make them sound softer for example instead of 'gentle', he uses 'gently' Between 'A Mother' and 'Do not go gentle', they are both in different situations as 'A Mother' is set in a refugee camp whereas in 'Do not go gentle', it is set in his own home, but the ultimate goal of the poem is to fight approaching death, and doing everything you can in order for someone to live longer.

The tone of the poem in ' Poem at Thirty-Nine', is as if the poet is writing the poem in order to please her father. She wanted to do more with her father and that she has changed as a person due to her fathers teaching and wants her father to admire the woman she has become. This poem shares a common thread with 'Do not go gentle' as they both want their fathers to appreciate their effort or do things differently as in ' Poem at Thirty-Nine', she wants her father to admire her but it is too late. However, in 'Do not go gentle', Dylan Thomas makes it clear you should life to the fullest and wants his father to fight death. This is evident through the repetition of ' Rage, rage' which is repeated a number of times in the poem. This shows that he is not happy with the way that his father is approaching death and has let it become a part of him. Infact, he completely discourages this kind of behavior and wants his dying father to approach death differently and feels that he is not doing enough in order to stay alive.
Death is conveyed through the use of metaphors 'Do not stand at my grave and weep' and 'Do not go gentle' .The tone of 'Do not stand at my grave and weep' is one of comfort and warmth. The speaker tells the reader to not stand at my grave and weep and encourages them to be happy at the time of death. This poem would directly be from the point of view of the speaker who is infact dead and to provide comfort and to show that even after they have died, they are still with them, every second of the way. The metaphor, 'sun on ripened grain', and 'soft stars that shine at night' show that while she is physically not present for them, she can be found anywhere in aspects of there life watching down on every move that they may make. This poem contrasts with, 'Do not go gentle' as they both show different goals in what they want to achieve. The metaphor is shown in the line, 'Rage, rage against the dying of the light'. The speaker is saying that you should fight approaching death and live life to the fullest. 'Do not go gentle' contrasts with 'Do not stand at my grave and weep' as they are both set out to reach different goals but ultimately they both experience death. 'Do not go gentle' drives home the importance of living life to the fullest whereas, 'Do not stand at my grave and weep,' conveys that even when loved ones die, they are still with them, watching them from above.
Rhyme and rhythm show the hostile attitudes towards death in the poems, 'Remember, 'Do not go gentle' and 'A Mother'. In 'Remember', the poem is a Petrarchan sonnet, which is divided in two, an octet and a sestet. During the octet, the speaker desires for her lover to remember after her death. However, in the sestet, the speaker changes her attitude and gives her partner the option to remember/forget her. The rhyme scheme of the poem directly parallels with the two ideas in the octet and the sestet. During the octet, the stanzas follow the ABBBAABBA rhyme scheme, which follow the idea of a classic Italian sonnet. During the octet, where they are following this strict rhyme scheme, they are pictured holding hands. These images idealize the perfect stages of a romance. In contrast to, the sestet completely changes ending with a CDDECE instead of a CDECDE. The change of the rhyme scheme show that something has gone wrong in the relationship and that it is imperfect. This shows that there is a disagreement and that after the octet where it was sooth and gentle, the speaker does not want to accept death, as it will take all memories between her partner away from her and everything she has gathered in this life will be taken away. In 'Do not go gentle', the use of the iambic pentameter in the poem supports death but also encourages people to fight approaching death. The iambic pentameter is usually written in a lyrical sound but the fact that they are using the words, 'age', 'rave', it makes it sound like they are projecting the tone of the poem almost like a chant. The iambic pentameter makes the poem sound more dramatic because it has a musical feel, which shows how the speaker is also focusing on death. In, 'A Mother', the use of free verse evokes the inevitability of death in the poem. The use of free verse allows the speaker to convey his thoughts with no restrictions. As the death of the child is slowly approaching, the mother is to experience many hardships and thoughts inside her head whether the baby will survive or not. This attitude shows that death will approach slowly and will inevitably; reach a halt where you cannot continue any longer. This is shown by the use of free verse which allows us to experience thoughts continuously as the mother of the child holds on to her clinging desperately seeking for help. All three of these poems were able to convey their message about the attitudes of death. In 'Remember', this was achieved by the change of rhyme scheme, which showed the lack of acceptance of death in the poem. This contrasted with the poem, 'Do not go gentle' where iambic pentameter was used in order to make the poem sound like a chant giving it a musical feel which then helped to fight against approaching death. 'Do not go gentle' and ' A Mother' shared similarities as free verse was used in 'A Mother' to allow thoughts to flow firmly as the death of the child is occurring. In 'Do not go gentle' they also used rhyme and rhythm, iambic pentameter more specifically in order to convey the message that you should fight approaching death.

In 'A Mother', the flow of the single stanza poem allows the poet to reveal his emotions continuously without any restrictions. The use of enjambment also speeds the pace up of the poem to make it seem like it is going fast. The structure of 'A Mother' is without much rhyme and rhythm, apart from enjambment, which is achieved by the use of free flow. The poet purposefully allowed free flow and disorganization of the poem; for example, the first stanza is small in length in comparison with the other stanzas. The author has done this to show the disarray and the trouble that is occurring in the refugee camp. The enjambment causes great speed to the poem, which described the mother in a situation, and everything is happening so quickly that she cannot comprehend it. This also supports that she is speechless about the death of her child. The use of a single stanza also creates a huge impact as the poet stretches a painful death and experience by a mother. This poem is similar to ' The Vacuum' where the author used free flow in the whole poem. The author did not use a rhyme scheme in this poem because it would destroy the flow of the poem creating less emotional effect on the reader. The author also uses 3 stanzas with 5 lines each to show that each stanza is equal and the value of it is the same meaning that all of it is important. 'A Mother' and 'The Vacuum' has a similar rhyme and rhythm scheme in the way that they use free flow and let their thoughts flow continuously to create as much emotional effect as possible.

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