Commentary on Refugee Mother and Child

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jerrydaniels
Words 859
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Commentary on the poem Refugee Mother and Child
The author of the poem is a Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, who used strong vocabulary and shocking facts in order to make this poem powerful and illustrate people’s lives in refugee camps, their difficulties, feelings and pain. The title helps us to guess what this poem is about, being quite short and direct.
The poem is organized into two stanzas, each with different lengths. The first stanza, being an allusion, compares Madonna and Child to mother and her dying child in a refugee camp. The idea of this comparison is that the love and tenderness that the mother expresses towards her weak child here surpasses the ideal image of Mother Mary and Jesus, “No Madonna and Child could touch that picture of a mother’s tenderness”, the word “touch” is used in a meaning “to measure up” here.
The fact that there is nothing the mother can do about her child’s forthcoming death can also be seen, “for a son she would have to forget”, she also cannot maintain memory about his death in order to survive, crying for her child would be a luxury, she has to carry on.
The author then moves to the lives of other people who are living in the refugee camp, where they die in great numbers. Chinua Achebe creates the tragic atmosphere by his word choice that catches attention, putting more emphasis to what is actually said than to the way it is said.
It is clearly shown that children suffer from malnutrition and starvation, the author also uses the repetition of the word “washed” to describe the state of children in this camp, “unwashed children” in the sense of a bad hygiene, and “washed-out ribs” to describe their physical state due to malnutrition. They do not even have basic things for survival, “blown empty bellies” shows their physical appearance, lack of food in their stomachs.
A feeling of hopelessness is seen all around the camp,…...

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