• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Refugee mother and her child by Chinua Achebe - Explain what the poem is about and how the poet conveys the emotions he feels.

Extracts from this document...


Refugee mother and her child by Chinua Achebe Explain what the poem is about and how the poet conveys the emotions he feels. The poem is about Achebe's encounter with a mother and child in a refugee camp. This mother was different from the other mothers as she still cherished and loved her son. The other mothers had already stopped caring for their children as survival was not the most important thing and there wasn't any hope of survival for their children anyway. In line 9: "Most mothers there had long ceased to care" The poet's tone was varied, in the first stanza he used long, soft vowels such as the vowel 'o' and words such as 'tenderness'. In line 4, Achebe chose to used the word 'odour' instead of the word 'smell' or 'stench' because it sounded softer and more rounded. The softness continued until the beginning of line 5 where Achebe used hard-sounding words such as 'diarrhoea' and 'blown'. ...read more.


In the first line, "Madonna and Child", this is the scene when Christ was taken from the cross and placed on Mary's knees. Achebe is saying that even this scene could not have been more touching than of the refugee mother and her child. In line 3: "for a son she soon would have to forget." Here he means that after the boy dies, the mother will have to concentrate on survival for herself, forcing her to forget her son. This will not be able to mourn her child. In line 4: "The air was heavy with odours..." The air was thick with the stench. The air was so dense that it seemed it had a weight and was more than just gas. In lines 7 and 8: "Struggling in laboured steps..." Even walking is difficult for them. Walking is hard work. Achebe doesn't know the mother's name, so he refers to her as "she" and "her". ...read more.


This is because he'd finished describing about the surroundings and was moving onto the mother. In line 7, there was a semi-colon, which indicates a pause. There is another one in line 16. In line 13 there are three periods together. This is usually used to signify that something will eventually continue. At the end of the poem he put another period. This is because he is ending the poem and also because he is once again finalizing something. Since the child is dying, death is final, so the period was suitable. In lines 13 to 16, Achebe introduced the possibility that the mother and child were probably quite well off before they were in this situation. However, their lives had changed and it was no longer that comfortable lifestyle. I thought the poem was sad. It showed how disasters could change the feelings and lives of normal people like you and me. It was an eye-opening poem, and it made me realise that if I weren't living this lifestyle that boy may well have been anyone I know or me. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Chinua Achebe: Vultures section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Chinua Achebe: Vultures essays

  1. Explain what the poem is about and how the poet conveys the emotions he ...

    In "ghost smile", he meant the softening of the mother's expression as she looked at her son. There was repetition of "ghost" and in "ghost of a mother's pride", it represented what the mother used to feel and here there was only the tiniest left of it.

  2. Vultures - poem review.

    * The title is in some ways deceptive, like Ezekiel's The Night of the Scorpion. Although the poem begins with a cold and repulsive portrait of the vultures, we realise that they are symbols of evil and their main purpose is to introduce us to the theme of the poem.

  1. To what extent do you feel that Achebe intends the reader to be sympathetic ...

    This corresponds to Okonkwo loosing faith in his father. Another important occurrence where one can see that Okonkwo's life falls apart was when he was in exile for seven years for murdering a clansman. From this episode Achebe implies that Okonkwo's hopes dreams have begun to fall apart. His hopes of being a rich and popular individual had drifted away with this upsetting incident.

  2. Compare 'Vultures' by Chinua Achebe and 'What were they like?' by Denise Levertov

    The sixth question is about their song-like everyday speech. The speaker answers that some say there is still a faint echo of song in the people's speech. It is as faint as the beating of moth-wings. The speaker concludes by declaring that war has finally silenced their beautiful and gentle songs.

  1. What was the significance of the Amritsar Massacre for British Relations in India?

    accept the May statement on June as they were seeking to not be excluded when various Indian parties where gathered to agree with each other and not. However, this shows that the British themselves in a way caused the catastrophe as they themselves still wanted to have Influence and to

  2. Do you agree that Achebe shows an "awareness of the human qualities common to ...

    He gains wealth and status and having an admirable personality, but the want for happiness leads to one fatal flaw bringing about the character's own destruction, usually resulting in death. Okonkwo begins life in his father's shadow, borrows yam seeds, plants them and is eventually able to have his own harvest.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work