Hey Guys! I have my IGCSEs ths year and I haven't been doing very well In Eng Lit. This is a question that I've attempted based on the poem "Where I come from" by Elizabeth Brewster. If you're doing the same poem, please help me out and tell me what this answer requires for an A*! It's a text-based question.
The question is : Analyse the reasons why the poet (Elizabeth Brewster) has chosen to describe people in terms of places.
How are we as beings different from the people of our kind? Different from various people we meet in our lives? What is our identity? Is it just related to our name and the culture we belong to? These are various questions one can find answers to in Elizabeth Brewster's poem- Where I Come From. Brewster very subtly brings out all these aspects in her poem. She first gives a general idea and then links the same to herself, and tells us who she really is, what her identity is and how she's different.
The poem starts with a universal statement "People are made of places". We are a mix of different cultures, different places. One's identity is based upon the place that person comes from. Places leave an enormous impact on us, on our identity. One can without much effort differentiate between those living near the mountains and those near the coast. "They carry with them hints of jungles or mountains........... cool eyes of sea-gazers". One has an emotional attachment to the place of their origin. There are various memories we carry from the various places we visit and spend time in. Even though we might shift to a different place, our birth place plays a major role in shaping up our identity. This is what Brewster clearly states in her poem.
Identities are fluid/flux they change with time, just as one changes. We change everyday, physically and mentally. We travel to different places and carry certain experiences and memories that are unforgettable. This is what we are, this is what one is. Culture also plays a key role in building up our identity. But culture after all, is also derived from the place we come from! People are just a product of the place they come from and thus Brewster describes people in terms of places.
Elizabeth also makes a vast comparison between the rural and urban lifestyles in the two contrasting stanzas. From her choice of words, it seems that she doesn't appreciate the urban life. The line- "Nature tidily plotted in little squares" is rather ironic. How can nature be plotted? Also, "art also tidily plotted with a guidebook" creates a negative feel. It's as if the urban life is commanding nature to conform. Art is one's imagination. By comparing the two (urban and rural) lifestyles, she also compares the people who belong to each.
The second stanza is more of her own experiences in her native place- Canada. She talks about how tension-free people are "People carry woods in their minds, acres of pine woods". Her memories come alive as she talks about the "farmhouses", "schoolhouses". However, the reader is confused when she uses words like "battered", "aimlessly" and "burned-out" to describe the rural life. Also, the indentation of the the first line of the second stanza is from where the first stanza finished. It's lie she is trying to say that both lifestyles co-exist. Thus, saying we are a blend of different places.
The last two lines of the poem are of great significance. "A door in the mind blows open, and there blows a frosty wind from fields of snow". It is quite possible that Brewster moved from the place she was born in and now she remember something about that place. This is possible as New Brunswick was a snowy area.
Brewster's main ideology that is reflected in the poem is that one is made up of the place they come from, rather places. "People are made of places". As life progresses, and we move from place to place the different experiences and memories add up to our identity. Thus creating who we are.
Feel free to mark me out of 25 marks and point out any mistakes you come across. It would really help me. Thanks for reading! Cheers )
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Pleas help. Igcse english literature. Paper 4 and 5. "where i come from" watch
- Thread Starter
- 10-02-2014 14:40