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

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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