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Ispahan Carpet

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Introduction

Ispahan carpet. Ispahan carpet is a four stanza poem written by Elizabeth Burge. From the title, you can see the poem is set in an eastern country and this becomes obvious as the poem evolves. The poem is set in a rug making factory, this is suggested by the way the narrator describes how she is with a ?guide?. The poem is quite a dark as Burge uses death-like references throughout to describe the working conditions the workers are in. Burge describes how the eight year old girls work on ?rough timber gallows?, this suggests that these little girls are literally working too death, their life over before it?s begun. This is again shown with the ?rope-rising? in the second stanza. ...read more.

Middle

The girls are described as having ?unsupported bird-bones? and how they resemble old women. This can be seen as a literal and metaphorical. In the literal sense it could be interpreted as all the hours of labour the girls have been through have turned their fragile body into one that resembles an old woman, or, in the metaphorical sense it could be seen as their souls have become crushed and ?bent like old women?. Although the guide is very pleased with what he is showing the visitors, as he explains the work that goes into the ?most desired? rugs ?proudly?. From the third stanza Burge starts to question the ethics and morality behind the whole rug making process she is witnessing. ...read more.

Conclusion

Their lives have been taken before they?ve even begun. The phrase ?traditional beauty!? could be seen as sarcasm here by Burge as she could be implying that the way the carpets are made traditionally outweighs the beauty of the end result, would a rug really be as beautiful if you saw the broken young girls behind it? I find the poem overall to have a slight tinge of arrogance, I feel Burge questions the children?s eastern culture based purely on her western upbringing. Although I do feel that child labour is wrong, I also find that questioning someone else?s culture is wrong. In conclusion I feel this poem makes the reader question what true beauty actually is and whether the overall price, regardless of the monetary price, is actually worth the end result. ...read more.

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