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Analysis of "A letter to my mother" by Chenjerai Hove

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´╗┐The purpose of this text, which is a letter from a traveller home to his mother, is to inform her of his experiences on his travels, and is thought and feelings on this. The tone of the letter is largely one of nostalgia and suggestions of homesickness which can be seen in the many contrasting ways he portrays the way of life from his home in Africa to his new home in Norway. However the writer acknowledges that he has learned that travelling is a way to broaden one?s horizons and expand one?s mind so, but looks forward to the day he can return to his roots and share his experiences with his family. The tone of nostalgia is prevalent throughout this text, it even begins with the word ?Remember? which suggests that it is going to be a very reflective and personal piece. This is repeated again with reference to ?memories? of the way of life the writer has left behind, and the fondness with which he looks back on it. The fond recollections of home which are described in detail such as the way they view the weather, particularly the rain as something which is to be ?celebrated? because it ?gives life to people, plants and animals?. ...read more.


Further contrasts are shown between the geographical differences of Norway and Africa are introduced by the phrase ?by the way? which suggests the writer?s excitement to tell his mother about a novel experience. ?I forget you have never seen the sea? this could be taken to be typical of all people of his place of origin, this would be something that they could consider exciting and opening up new ideas to them. This contrasts with the way Norwegian settlements re set out, they are all in coastal areas and gain much of their sustenance from the sea, ?Norwegians are people of the sea? and ?it brings everything they want?, this suggests that while the sea and all it?s bounty are enough to make the local Norwegians happy and content, it does not seem to do so for the author, further alienating him from those round him. This is further emphasized by the Norwegian folk wisdom ?if you don?t eat fish, like me, you are supposed to be miserable? . The Norwegians would argue that he is unhappy because he does not eat fish, however the source of his unhappiness is more likely to be his homesickness and desire to be with those he misses. ...read more.


This metaphor is describing knowledge as a river, which is constantly flowing, changing and heading somewhere new, just like he was when he left for Norway. The ?stream? which flows to the rivers is his path to this knowledge, one that he feels he must continue to travel. The writer is more forceful here than before, having often used the lexical item ?maybe? to which showed uncertainty but hopefulness, he now uses the verb phrase ? I know? , this shows his mind has been made up that he shall not give in and come home yet just because he is unhappy. The noun phrase ?other lads? refers to his new home in Norway, which could be considered his classroom or learning grounds for his life lessons, but also suggests it could be anywhere in the world due to lands being plural, and that he may move on to somewhere new one day. All in all the writer uses various techniques to show the contrasts of his homeland to his new home, his homesickness and his desire to soldier on, to continue to gain new knowledge and life skills and experience. ...read more.

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