SNAITH//Living Space CAMELS Essay


Living Space

Dharker’s Living Space explores themes of societal oppression and the passage of time. Dharker uses Living Space as a device to comment on the poverty stricken slums of Mumbai whilst simultaneously celebrating the life found there. Moreover, she identifies the fragility of life and the continuous cycle of poverty.

Dharker uses the poem to highlight the social inequalities and contrasting ways of life in the world. The existence of life in these places is presented as a miracle despite the overlying message of the inadequacy of the lifestyle forced upon them. This is evident by the use of ‘leans dangerously towards the miraculous’ because as a reader we are unsure of what the miraculous refers to; either meaning that the structures lean so heavily and are built so poorly that its ‘miraculous’ that they’re still standing or that it refers to the possible end of that existence which could be identified because the building ‘leans dangerously’.

Throughout the poem, there is a sense of optimism despite the continued references of fragility of human life. This is particularly notable in the metaphor ‘eggs in a wire basket’.  It could be seen as an act of faith to live in one of these rough structures - a daring attempt to live in such a place. In this way the poem represents the fragility of human life and celebrates the way that faith brings boldness. Her optimism is seen through the third stanza of the poem when although the ‘eggs’ are in dire situation ’hung out over the dark edge’ they are ‘gathering the light’ therefore finding faith in their


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