The Right Word

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"The Right Word."
The word 'The' suggests singular but is there only one? The word 'Right' could be seen as biased and there are perceptions as to what is the 'right word.' The 'Word' could be made up.
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"Outside the door..."
This opening line could suggest maybe 'excluded from society.' Our perceptions of people can exclude terrorists/ normal people from the world - is that right? The repetition throughout reminds readers that extremists often feel like outsiders.
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"...lurking in the shadows...taking shelter in the shadows..."
There are two different words here for doing the same action, but one sounds more sinister and the other sounds vunerable
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"...shadows..."
This is open to alternative interpretation: a) Shadows are misjudged - like a terrorist; it is unknown as to what is really is b) Shadows could represent the inequality of the world - when the child steps inside, the inequality is wrong
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"...shadows..."
c) Could reflect the dark side of a person d) Maybe it just creates a dark/ sinister atmosphere - like a nightmare.
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"...is a terrorist...is a freedom-fighter...is a hostile militant...is a guerrilla warrior...is a child who looks like mine...is a boy who looks like your son, too."
The repetition of these phrases with slight changes each time, exaggerates the point of the poem. It is as if the speaker is going back and re-wording them to try and make them more accurate.
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"...door...shadows..."
The repetition of the words like 'door' and 'shadows' keeps up an atmosphere of suspicion and suggests barriers and uncertainty.
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"Is that the wrong description?"
This shows how difficult it is to agree on right and wrong.
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"...is a terrorist."
This is almost sounding blunt and is an emotive choice of noun - it makes the first stanza seem threatning.
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"...is a freedom-fighter."
This is a complete contrast to the word 'terrorist.' It is more positive and sounds noble and idealistic.
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"I haven't got this right."
The ironic tone suggests that there is no right or wrong answer. It is refreshing and personal that she is challenging her own misconceptions - it is teaching a moral to society.
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"Are words no more than waving, wavering flags?"
This could be seen as an attempt to communicate, but could suggest that patriotism can be misleading - it is partriotism to the extreme. "Wavering" reinforces the idea of uncertainty. Patriotism: a)Insignificant b)terrorism as a result of patriotism.
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"Outside your door..."
Using the word 'Your' adds a personal element and allows the reader to relate.
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"...is a guerilla warrior."
This is another threatening term that suggests skill, power and violence. It could refer back to 'the shadows', as guerilla warriors are often good at camoflage.
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"God help me...I saw his face."
The two short sentences here add drama to the poem and makes it more intense. The word 'God' is an interesting choice of words. Perhaps it suggests that terrorism is a result of religion or maybe 'the light' helps remove the shadows.
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"I saw his face."
This phrase adds a more personal element and reveals a sense of identity.
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"...stands a martyr."
This is a huge sacrifice - it is a frightening idea of someone willing to die and kill for their religious beliefs.
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"No words can help me now."
The speaker has become more and more helpless and insecure up to this point. It gives a sense of desperation - speaker cannot see a way back = panic.
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"...lost in shadows..."
The activist is just as unsure and uncertain as the speaker.
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"...a child who looks like mine."
The word 'child' suggests innocence but to the reader gives an element of surprise and shock that a child is a terrorist. Maybe this would make the speaker feel shameful and regret for judging the 'terrorist.' "Mine" = motherly instinct/ responsible.
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"One word for you."
The tone changes here as though the speaker has given up on finding the right term and wants to now talk clearly. However, it is still ambiguous - What is the word? Can one word be used? - links back to the title of the poem.
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"...his hand too steady, his eyes too hard..."
a) Something is wrong b) Not child-like at all.
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"...like your son, too."
This reminds the reader of the collective responsibility for young people.
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"I open the door."
This is symbolic of taking down the metal barriers created by language. It could be a metaphor for breaking down inequality.
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"Come in...come in..."
The repetition here emphasises the welcome and makes the child feel accepted.
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"...I say."
This is open to alternative interpretation: a) Maybe she is the only one who has changed b) Promotes the message of 'If I can do it, so can you.'
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"...eat with us."
This is a universal activity, suggesting friendship and hospitality.
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"The child steps in..."
After all the threatening descriptions, the 'shadow' is revealed - maybe this is 'the right word.'
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"...carefully, at my door, takes off his shoes."
The response to the speaker's welcome is gentle and considerate - this shows how things could be. It shows how perceptions can be concieving.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

"Outside the door..."

Back

This opening line could suggest maybe 'excluded from society.' Our perceptions of people can exclude terrorists/ normal people from the world - is that right? The repetition throughout reminds readers that extremists often feel like outsiders.

Card 3

Front

"...lurking in the shadows...taking shelter in the shadows..."

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

"...shadows..."

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

"...shadows..."

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
View more cards

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