The Emigree by Carol Rumens

  • Created by: randall04
  • Created on: 29-10-19 10:50
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  • The Emigree by Carol Rumens
    • form and structure
      • The poem comprises three stanzas. There is no regular rhyme scheme, but all three stanzas end with the word ‘sunlight’.The free verse and enjambment reflect the chaos in what we can infer is a war-zone. The narrator tries to impose order by using regular-length stanzas (8,8 and 9 lines in length).
        • the longest staza reflects that she doesnt want to leave
      • by ending on the word sunlight shows that love wins for the city
    • quotes
      • There once was a country… I left it as a child but my memory of it is sunlight-clear
        • there once makes it sound like a fairy tale, the use of not naming the country makes this a universal application to all refugees
        • She would have had no control of her fate; one assumes her family was forced to leave. So as a child and as a refugee she was doubly helpless.The verb ‘left’ offers no insight as to why or how she moved. Perhaps the speaker wanted to focus on the beauty of her country rather than the distressing circumstances that forced her out.
        • The memories remain clear, but are admitted to be optimistic.
      • It may be at war, it may be sick with tyrants,but I am branded by an impression of sunlight.
        • The poet uses a lexical field of words relating to a country in conflict, such as ‘war’, ‘sick’ and ‘tyrants’. This is in contrast to the other lexical field dealing with its opposite; ‘sunlight’, ‘mildest’, ‘bright’ and ‘clear’. The two extremes constitute two important contrasting themes.The country is personified as being ‘sick’, as a living creature might be.
        • The repetition of the word ‘sunlight’ suggests the speaker has an almost dream-like picture of the past.The country has ‘branded’ her. It has left marks on her. Metaphorically she is saying that she remembers only positive things. However, the word ‘branded’ could suggest that she has been physically disfigured by her experiences. It has also negative connotations of brandings inflicted on animals.
      • That child’s vocabulary I carried herelike a hollow doll, opens and spills a grammar.
        • She was a child, so the vocabulary she had learned was limited; she hadn’t acquired adult expression. Also, it could mean that she and those like her were banned from speaking their language; the only one she knew that was her entire identity and way of communication.
        • The words and opinions she was forbidden to speak about are still inside her, like the filling of a doll. It suggests also that the oppressive regime she fled dehumanised the population, so she lost her essential identity. What she was left with was puppet-like; a doll.
      • It lies down in front of me, docile as paper;I comb its hair and love its shining eyes.
        • lies down in  front of me suggests she only remembers what she wishes to remember and she blocks out the negative memories
        • if its docile as paper it means it can be easily manipulated and chnage: therefore suiting her idealistic view of her country
        • by personfiying the city as a doll or pet  its eyes shine referncing sunlight indicating how she feels as if the city is pure and innocent and that she will love it unconditionally
      • My city hides behind me. They mutter death,and my shadow falls as evidence of sunlight.
        • the line is ambiguous and contrast the rest of the poem
        • her shadow being evidence of sunlight could be her trying to prove that the city was good but it no longer is
        • they mutter death can be hate of her city coming through and she is unable to fully make it a utopia
    • context
      • an emigree is someone who has left their home country due to social or political circumstances
      • it was published in 1993- when there was an influx of immigrants seeking asylum in certain parts of the world
      • rumens was born and raised in south london which is culturally diverse


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