The poem Where I Come From by Elizabeth Brewster talks about how a persons birthplace affects their character.

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Where I Come From

The poem “Where I Come From” by Elizabeth Brewster talks about how a person’s birthplace affects their character. Wherever you go in life, you will carry with you memories and echoes of your birthplace, where it’s a city, as in the first stanza or the quiet countryside as in the second stanza. This idea shows us that who we are is shaped by where we were born and where we grew up.  It’s written in free verse.

The first stanza has a conversational tone to it, it’s philosophical. It talks about the fast paced city life, and how in a city everything runs like clockwork.  The first two lines itself tells us about the theme of the poem; “people are made of places”. The poet has written a simple sentence which makes it more powerful, and increases clarity. The poet has used a full stop after this statement which makes the reader pause and think about the statement. “They carry with them hints of jungles or mountains, a tropic grace or the cool eyes of sea-gazers”, jungle and mountain are two contrasting landscapes. Some people’s actions reflect their birthplace. The phrase “sea-gazers” gives a calming effect of the sea. The calm and patience possessed by the people living near the sea. The word “tropic” is used as an adjective, it creates harmony. The different regions that the poet has portrayed convey diversity.

The next line, “Atmosphere of cities how different drops from them.”, the author is talking about how differently the city life affects the people that live there, and how atmospherically city life changes greatly. The poet has used alliteration, which creates a harsh sound, which contrasts the calming effect given earlier. The use of word “drop” makes it seem careless. The phrase “like smell of smog” is a simile, not a pleasant image. Here, the poet is pointing out the pollution and claustrophobia of city life. The poet has also used sibilance. The next line, “the almost-not-smell of tulips in the spring” talks about how the flowers of spring  are starting to blossom, although they are not fully produced and grown, the smell of the tulips can’t be appreciated due to the smells of the city. The tulips could be representing the people, cause tulips are pretty and expensive, they don’t grow wild and are very restrained, a lot like the people in the city. Tulips are also very artificial, like the people. The poet has used olfactory imagery in the phrase “almost-not-smell”.

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In the next line, the idea of the city being organized and tidily planned out is introduced; “nature tidily plotted in little squares with a fountain in the center”. This line tells the reader that nature still exists in city life but it is restricted. “Little squares” shows the sense of restriction, how it’s boxed in also suggesting claustrophobia. This line indicates how man in the city tames nature and how people in the city have a desire for control. “The fountain” suggests how man interferes with nature. In the next line, “museum smell” gives a sense of history ...

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