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The poem "Refugee Mother and Child" by Chinua Achebe deals with the sadness of death.

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Introduction

The poem "Refugee Mother and Child" by Chinua Achebe deals with the sadness of death. The author conveys this theme by creating a tragic atmosphere through the introduction of shocking images and strong words. Chinua achebe is one of the most important African poet 'For a son she soon would have to forget'. This foreshadows the idea that her son is dying, and she would have to forget him The poet describes a mother and her child in a refugee camp , 'Blown empty bellies' shows that the camp is suffering from starvation diseases and death, most mothers are to weak to take care of their children ?Madonna and child ? this is a clear reference to virgin mary with the christ child No Madonna and Child could touch that picture...', relates to the idea of Mary and her child, Jesus. The picture images - the ideal image of motherhood. The picture of a mother with her new born child. The air was heavy with odors of diarrhea : Vocab refugee some one forced to leave their country Madonna a name for a virgin marry (mother of jesses) ...read more.

Middle

This foreshadows that the son in her arms is soon going to die, an idea which is confirmed by the third line which says that after laying her son beneath the earth, the mother would have to learn how to live life without him, and move on. The next four lines describe the aura of disease, illness and death which surrounds the camp; describing the smells of the camp, and the ribs of the children protruding from sickness, painting a truly horrifying picture of sick infants and helpless people. Then Achebe goes on to say how other mothers no longer care, they can no longer cope with the struggle of surviving and now only await death. However this mother, who was mentioned earlier, do not fall into the same category. There is a remnant of a smile gracing her lips and she remembers her son in all his glory as she holds him for the last time. Her maternal pride had led her to clean him up before laying him to rest, and now she takes out a comb and with singing eyes, she arranges her son?s hair which is rust, a sign that he suffers from kwashiorkor; a protein deficiency. ...read more.

Conclusion

Achebe evokes the sense of smell, sight and feeling to such an extent that tears spring to the reader?s eyes. The metaphor in the mother?s ?humming eyes? makes one sympathize with her plight. No reason is given as to why the people are in a refugee camp. Perhaps there had been a war, or some sort of natural calamity, but Achebe has aptly described how such drastically the lives of those change who are forced to leave their home and take shelter, by focusing on one mother who is holding her dying child. The poem could also act as a testament to a mother?s love, who knows that the child is dead, yet continues to hold him with care and caution. She is not yet ready to let go and accept the fact that he is dead. This poem touched my heart as it very delicately and subtly described the agony of losing a dead one which is I think the most difficult of struggles that people face in this world, especially those parents who have to see their young children die. It is sad, and depressing and heart breaking but I enjoyed it nevertheless. ...read more.

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