the emigree-carol rumens

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  • the emigree
    • Exile: The speaker seems to be an exile from an unknown city.
      • ‘there’s no way back’, ‘I have no passport’, perhaps this mysterious and now unreachable city the speaker recollects is meant to represent the past, to which they can’t return to.
    • News reports: Words and phrases associated with TV news bulletins used throughout
      • ‘tyrants’, ‘rolls its tanks’, ‘banned by the state’, the vocabulary used depicts a war-torn country under control of a brutal government. If the speaker’s memories are of childhood, these terms may represent the harsh realities of the adult world.
    • Light and shade: References to sunlight is repeated all the way through.
      • ‘my shadow falls as evidence of sunlight’, the repeated references to sunlight suggest the speaker has an almost dream-like picture of the past, where it is always sunny, but the place is not as perfect as she remembers it.
    • poem presents itself as an émigrée’s relationship with her homeland, however, the place is not named so it could be interpreted as the relationship between people and places they left behind in childhood that they are unable to return to.
    • theres a suggestion of a rhythmic pattern of five stresses  to the line - but this pattern never fully establishes a regular rhythm, this could reflect the speaker’s state of mind, which is also uneasy, unsettled and complex.
    • metaphor is used very often ‘branded’ by sunlight, perhaps the whole city is an extended metaphor, a symbol of the lost childhood to which no adult can return.
    • city is personified and a play on words is used when it describes the city as flying to her ‘in its own white plane,' a meaning of ‘plane’ as something flat and level, may suggest a sheet of white paper, conveying that her city exists only in her poem and is an imaginary place, the fairytale like personification further adds to this sense of unreality.
  • themes
  • language
  • structure
  • form


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