Genetics mindmap

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  • Genetics
    • Familial ties
      • The narrator’s parents have separated, and their estrangement is deep — the metaphors ‘separate lands’ and ‘separate hemispheres’ are used to emphasise this. But she seems to find emotional satisfaction in the idea of their physical union remaining still within her, through the genetic link
      • The opening line begins with a statement which sets the theme for the poem, that of the relationship of daughter and parents and inheritance that has resulted in her inheriting physical features of both,  her hands. The rhythmic opening line is neatly balanced, with two matching clauses grammatically the same, a device known as syntactic parallels. The nouns ‘mother’ and ‘father’ are  consonantly rhymed. This shows that the parents have an equal part in influencing the narrator.
      • Declarative: 'We know our parents make us by our hands' show the narrator is comfortable with this situation
      • Forced rhyme scheme with repetition of the same words in order to make this pattern, perhaps realising that this link between the mother and father is likely to have not been maintained without the narrator.
    • Tradition
      • The form: villanelle is a very traditional poem form with strict rules, showing the strict expectations of family life
      • The line “I shape a chapel where a steeple stands” describes the hand games that is often played with as a child. This suggests the visual image of two hands coming together, which in itself could echo the idea of hands coming together to pray or the parents coming together through marriage to create the poetic voice.
      • 'I'll bequeath my fingers if you bequeath your palms' showing the cycle beginning again as the narrator and her partner settle down to create a family.
    • Change over time
      • The metaphor of their ‘friends who quarry for their image by a river’ suggests that those who care for them still seek the idea of whom they used to be, not truly accepting the real people and the changes. The river’s reflection suggests an illusion and also passing time. However, their daughter has no such illusions.


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