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Elizabeth Burges poem Ispahan Carpet is an extended metaphor which aims to compare the beauty of the traditional Persian carpet (known as the Ispahan carpet) to the appalling conditions in which the carpet makers are forced to dwell.

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Introduction

1. (a) - Riya Didwania Elizabeth Burge's poem "Ispahan Carpet" is an extended metaphor which aims to compare the beauty of the traditional Persian carpet (known as the Ispahan carpet) to the appalling conditions in which the carpet makers are forced to dwell. The central theme of the poem is to emphasize on the exploitation of children which is prevalent in various parts of the world. This leads to the end of all the hope and optimism that ever prevailed in the lives of the children to have a future; a future which is bright and helps them flee away from all the misery and desolation of carpet weaving. It intends to create awareness about child labour which remains unnoticed and ignored through out the world. The poem is portrayed through the eyes of a traveler who on her visit to Persia, is questioning and observing the horrid lives of the makers. Burge begins the poem with the use of a number of gloomy and depressing words like "silent", "cavernous" and "shadowing" which facilitates the build up of a solemn and glum atmosphere. The scene being described is that of a tired and weak ("silent", "sallow") Persian family who earn their living by weaving carpets. The word "rough" is used to express the tedious and harsh life of the makers. ...read more.

Middle

Child labour is widespread as only "such little fingers" can "tie such exquisitely minute knots". In this very stanza, we realize that the speaker is probably a tourist visiting Persia because of the guide who is proudly displaying the magnificent carpet which has been woven for "the most desired Tabriz or Karmenshah". In the third stanza, Burge uses parallelism to accentuate the immense hard work that has been put in to generate such a "traditional beauty." "One hundred knots" can also refer to the noose used to hang a person which again brings us back to the primary theme of the eventual death of the girls. The lines are termed as end stopped lines which effectively portray the miserable as well as dejected childhood ("a young child's growing) of these girls and the extreme circumstances that they are faced with. The speaker arouses the reader's emotions of sympathy and consideration by stressing on "One hundred". The fourth stanza implies that the girls have no knowledge beyond carpet weaving since the speaker terms their eyes as those "whose whole horizon is the carpet". Even though the guide is proud of the exquisite creation by the girls, the tourist begins to question the morality of the situation. The speaker uses an inquiring tone to ask "who can unravel the world's weaving?" ...read more.

Conclusion

It creates a feeling of acceleration and forces the reader to continue reading even after the line had ended. The sentences are simple so as to enhance the grimness of the situation. The structure of the poem is such that the lines in each stanza continue to decrease as the poem moves on which again indicate the eventual death of the carpet makers. The slowly diminishing lines can be compared to the life of the girls which arrives closer to its end as the years roll by. The title of the poem 'Isaphan Carpet' instantly reminds the reader of the intricate and complex details that have been associated with the art of carpet making and weaving. The title itself hints at the core idea of slavery and child exploitation. Thus, this poem is a description of the atrocious conditions faced by young girls who have no choice other than to carry out the tradition of carpet making as a living. The contrast between appearance and reality is particularly striking as the consumers are ignorant about the truth that little kids are making their carpets. Family is also a minor theme in the poem as the entire family has been unified as a whole to create the ancient Persian rugs. According to me, each of the knots symbolically represents a single member of the family and since these knots are combined to create the Ispahan carpet, the reader can see the collective hard work of a community. ...read more.

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