On Her Blindness

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  • On Her Blindness
    • title
      • the title links to John Milton's poem on his blindness
      • the use of third person suggests an observational tone which makes the poem more emotive
      • there is an idea that poem goes through the seven stages of grief
        • denial, anger, bargaining, anguish and acceptance
          • is a method for the poet to purge his emotions - cathartic tone
    • Stanzas 1 - 3
      • he says 'my mother' suggesting he is speaking for her - lack of control of her life
      • 'bear being blind' - alliteration creates hard sounds showing her hatred of her disability
      • the poem doesn't on a cathartic tone - topic is very emotional of the narrator
      • short sentences show pushing her blindness to the side - denial of it
      • calls 'handicaps are hell' suggesting it is worse than death
      • he bears it 'like a Roman' - his duty, traditional male role
    • Stanzas 4 - 8
      • 'not finding the food on the plate with her fork' - overly descriptive suggests how he must be with his mother
      • uses brackets of '(try it in a pitch black room)' to show isolation of mother and to create sympathy for his mother
        • almost mocking anyway who say it is easy - connection to reader
      • 'it living hell to be honest Adam' - religious connotations much like Adam they have both been forced out of garden of Eden to this
        • creates more vivid depiction of how awful being blind is - compares people who aren't blind to living the garden of Eden
      • juxtaposition of the normality of his phrase 'the usual sop' to 'I'd bump myself off' - he has almost become immune to feelings - like she is immune to sight
      • 'locked in son' - he is disabled through his mother - holds resentment - calls himself 'inadequate'
      • the narrator uses direct speech to make the poem feel more personal and to develop the mother as her own character instead of through the eyes of her son
        • is already dependent on him in many ways - not this way too
    • Stanzas 9 - 14
      • she is compared to a 'dodgem' - use of humour to cope as father shows
        • 'no-built in compass' dodgems are light-hearted
        • is a car suggesting she is reliant on something else
      • uses people, family to make it more emotive for the reader
        • 'the kids would show her a new painting or latest toy'
          • kids are naïve so don't understand blindness
          • we feel emotions see couldn't as had no sight - we act as a surrogate for her emotions
      • description encourages the reader to use their imagination - mother had too, connect to her more personally
    • Stanzas 15 - 23
      • idea of her driving a 'Lanchester' suggests and interpretation that she is ignorant of the lower classes
        • no 'built-in compass' could suggest no built in moral compass
      • in uses brackets to show she was last alive 'a fortnight back' it isolates it as a fact making it more raw and emotional for the reader
      • the pathetic fallacy of 'golden weather' and 'autumn trees' contrast to idea of her death
        • suggests for her, death is  heaven as she is currently in a 'living hell'
        • he describes the world more vividly 'ablaze with colour' - he is freed from the emotional blindness of his mother
      • emotive ending uses direct speech, 'watching somewhere in the end'
        • the idea that she can now see as is dead and free from her hell
    • structure
      • the poem is structurally difficult to read suggesting the mother's difficulty to see
      • use of one line at end makes it more pionant
      • lack of end-stopped lines adds to the idea of the poem as conversation - more personal
        • idea of the poem being a constant flow on memories
      • the line 'begins to drive...safe' is longer suggesting a turning point


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