"The Black Lace Fan My Mother Gave Me" by Eavan Boland.

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“The Black Lace Fan My Mother Gave Me”

Eavan Boland

        Poetry can be used as a means of expression for some poets.  However, Eavan Boland states that she has “never turned to poetry as a method of expression”.  Boland describes poetry as being “a very demanding art form” that does not lend itself to the mere expression or description of an experience.  Instead, she claims that she writes “not to express the experience, but to experience it further”.  This justification of her writing is depicted in the poem “The Black Lace Fan My Mother Gave Me”.  Throughout the poem, Boland transports the reader back to the moment when a woman, her mother, received a very special gift from her lover.  She emphasizes specific details about the weather, the characters’ actions, and the fan itself in order to re-live her mother’s experience.  Boland utilizes symbolism, metaphors, and similes to illustrate the reoccurring theme of the fan and the steamy romance of the relationship.

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        The first aspect of the poem identified is the setting.  Boland portrays the moment in prewar France, in a café on the Boulevard de Capucines.  It was a dry summer’s night with a storm brewing in the distance.  This description allows the reader to bond with the emotion of the characters: the anticipation, the adrenaline of a scandalous romance, and passionate aura of Paris.  The woman waits in the café as the man impatiently waits for


the gift to be wrapped.  Then there is a gap in the story.  The setting changes to a wartime scene in lines ...

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