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How death has an impact on different types of love

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Introduction

How death has an impact on different types of love The three poems 'Plena Timoris', 'Remember' and 'Refugee Mother and Child' all explore different types of love. 'Plena Timoris' explores the dependency that love evokes and how unrequited love can lead to severe consequences - death. 'Remember' is a sonnet about the eventuality of separation and remembrance of time spent together. 'Refugee Mother and Child' is about maternal love faced with the brutality of untimely death. It describes the strength of maternal love and contrastingly from the other two poems, shows how unlike romance, maternal love is more ethereal and death merely a physical separation. Although to a lesser degree than 'Plena Timoris', 'Remember' questions the sustainability of love after physicality is lost. Just as expressions of death differ so do the reactions of people towards death in each of the pieces. An array of emotions, from betrayal to resignation to quiet acceptance of the inevitable, is portrayed. All of the poems demonstrate the effects of death through a range of literary devices specific and parallels made with the intensity and durability of love. 'Remember' aims to be instructive in that the protagonist instructs her lover to react in a specific manner to her death. It begins with a dying wish: "Remember me when I am gone". The first line itself insinuates the concept of reluctant separation, as it seems like a lovingly sad plea. The metaphor "silent land" appears to mean a place of death, a cemetery where silence dominates and the dead rest in their graves, buried underground, in perpetuity. ...read more.

Middle

When describing the children, "washed-out ribs" suggest not visible ribs but bare bones under skin, with no fat, flesh or muscle. The use of alliteration with "bottoms", "behind", "blown" and "bellies" is applied, focusing the reader on the picture of the children's harsh reality. Achebe repeats the word 'ghost' which implies a predestined fate for every child. It also describes death as something of absolute certainty, the child already being a ghost in his mother's eyes. Again, by comparing the child's head with a skull, Achebe exposes its skeletal appearance, linking the boy's young body with a corpse, ravaged by hunger and distorted by disease. 'Refugee Mother and Child' is an extremely emotional poem as it describes a mother and "a son she soon would have to forget", in this instance not because of decisions that need to be made but purely because of the circumstances they are in. Achebe starts by describing the relationship of a mother and son using the religious connotation of the "Pieta" image that is pure and innocent. This is similar to the religious subtext within 'Remember' that speaks of religion as something one can turn to. The first stanza is very intimate as Achebe writes of how even "Madonna and Child" could not compare to the warmth of the mother cradling her child that she would have to let go of. The "tenderness" and intensity of this situation sets the tone of utmost anguish for the rest of the poem In contrast, 'Plena Timoris' paints a picture of death in an extremely candid ...read more.

Conclusion

Remember' is written with dread of the future, comparable to 'Plena Timoris' and also a sense of sombre acceptance like 'Refugee Mother and Child'. Contrastingly, it contains elements that only one experiencing death first-hand can talk about, unlike the other two poems which talk about death affecting people indirectly. For example, when she says "better by far you should forget and smile/Than that you should remember and be sad" the reader gets a direct message of what the speaker would like to happen once she is "gone away". The fact that she settles for her lover moving on in his life implies that she is compliant with her fate and wishes that her lover started afresh. The ability to directly convey her personal emotions allows the speaker to completely captivate the audience with the intimacy and poignancy of her message. Whereas, in 'Refugee Mother and Child' and 'Plena Timoris', death is spoken about by a third party or in relation to the dying person, not by the dying person themselves. The poems 'Remember', 'Refugee Mother and Child' and 'Plena Timoris' all explore death and love presented to the readers in different forms; as abstract and imperfect, as inevitable and unconditional, and as a warning and an eventuality; unrequited and fulfilled, respectively. The various literary devices, structure, tone and imagery of the poems exhibit the underlying theme, that despite the arrival of something as powerful and definitive as death, some form of residual love will always sustain and prevail. Shagun Herur Literature Coursework Shagun Herur Literature Coursework ...read more.

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