Nostalgia - carol ann duffy

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  • NOSTALGIA
    • What is the poem about?
      • the poem is about mercenaries   ( professional soldiers who are paid to fight for foreign armies.) who have moved from their home to fight in a foreign army, they experience an illness that doctors can't explain however it is them missing their home and where they have previously lived. it tells the story of where the word 'nostalgia' originated from.
    • who is the persona?
      • the persona appears to be someone who is looking back at the the experience because of the past tense, it also seems to be someone who is talking to a doctor because of the direct address.
        • "they had an ache here, doctor"
          • this may mean that it could be someone who saw the mercenaries and saw how them missing home affected them.
    • themes
      • the past - their home has become rose-tinted compared to how they perceive their current situation, their past living conditions seem like a haven to what they are experiencing now
      • memories - the memories of their home force them to become ill.
      • places - there is a clear contrast between their home in Switzerland and their current home where they are fighting.
    • Language features
      • repetition
        • throughout the poem repetition is heavily used, the use of these contrast. the first time is used in the first stanza.
          • "the wrong sounds, // the wrong smells, the wrong light, every breath wrong."
            • the combined use of the asyndetic listing and the repetition of "wrong" emphasises the contrast between their home and their current living situation. the second place where repetition is clearly used is in the third stanza
              • " in a sack on his back, to find the same street // with the same sign on the on the inn, the same bell."
                • the repetition of the "same" sounds mundane however it creates a sense of relief from the soldiers about returning home.
      • Alliteration
        • in the first stanza it says "crude coins clench" the use of alliteration creates a plosive sound that sounds harsh and mimics the anger that the soldiers are feeling about having to leave their home home to go and fight.
      • deixis
        • "it was given a name. hearing tell of it // there was those who stayed put, fearful"
          • the use of the deixis "it" creates an enigma behind the illness and by not naming it, it increases the fearfulness of it, the use of the deixis may also personify it and again make it more scary for the soldiers.

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