Parent Child Relationships In The Poems Refugee Mother And Child, Poem At Thirty Nine And Piano

1638 words - 7 pages

In Refugee Mother and Child, the nature of relationship portrayed between a mother and child is very tender and personal. The title of this poem directly suggests a connection between a mother and child. The very first line elaborates on this idea, as seen in the metaphor; “No Madonna and child could touch, that picture of a mother's tenderness...” Here the sustained sacred love between the mother and child surpasses the iconography of Mother Mary and Jesus. This signifies that the refugee mother and child shared a distinctive kind of closeness and loving relationship, experienced by no other parent and child.
Achebe creates an image of sadness and grief in the line, “For a son she would soon have to forget”. This provokes a sense of sympathy in the reader. In spite of the grim environment the mother is forced to be in “the air was heavy with odours of diarrhoea of unwashed children”; her strong love is depicted in the phrase “a ghost smile between her teeth”. Figurative speech is used to convey the message to the audience. This instantaneously shows that the mother’s love is more powerful than the devastation around her.
The second stanza again touches upon the bonding between the refugee mother and child when it says “mothers there had long ceased to care, but not this one.” This line portrays that other mothers had lost hope in their child long ago, but this mother refused to give into misery. Hence, the mother’s strong commitment towards her dying child is clearly demonstrated here. Furthermore, unconditional love between the mother and child is shown in the line” as she combed the rust-coloured hair left on his skull” and “singing in her eyes”. Both lines brilliantly illustrate an act that is extraordinarily gentle and meticulous. Figurative speech is used to demonstrate the act of singing in the eyes.
The poet Chinua Achebe looks at the unique relationship between a mother and a dying child at the backdrop of the Civil War in Biafra with Nigeria (Re-phrase his experiences... may have influenced this poem (he was a journalist). Starvation and diseases was widespread and children died with unconcerned regularity. The poet presents a case in this poem where a mother did take care and continue to treat her child who was on the brink of death, as if he would live.

The heavily autobiographical poem, Poem at Thirty-Nine by Alice Walker shows a strong bonding between a daughter and her deceased father. The poem illustrates how paternal love is appreciated by the persona. The first line reveals to us that the persona was extremely close to her father as she says “How I miss my father”. This shows how the daughter longed to spend time with her father and there is a deep sense of regret. The sentence is repeated again in the fourth stanza, this time with an exclamation mark at the end. Walker shows the daughter’s light-heartedness towards her father in this phrase. The two phrases are the only lines that appear as full sentences in the...

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