How is power/conflict presented in The Emigrée and one other poem?
In the poems ‘The Emigrée’ and ‘Tissue’ both poets focus on the abuse of power in the modern world. However, in ‘The Emigrée’, power is portrayed as being dangerous and confusing, whereas in ‘Tissue’, power is presented as transient. There seems to be a conflict between the speaker’s memories and the actual truth of her city in ‘The Emigrée’ and in ‘Tissue’, the conflict is between nature and the man-made world.
In ‘The Emigrée’, the poet presents power as dangerous. Since many of Rumens’ poems are based on modern examples of emigration from the Middle East where people are fleeing corruption and tyranny, you could say that “may be sick with tyrants” shows that her country is under dictatorship. The semantic field of war which runs throughout the poem gives the impression of a battle the poem is fighting. This proves that the city she is remembering is no longer a safe place. The use of the adjective “sick” personifies the city, which could imply that the city is a living thing to the speaker that needs to be defended; almost like a child that requires protection. As a result, this establishes the imagery of childhood in the reader’s mind. You could say that the speaker is defending her younger self by clinging on to the memories she made as a child. Maybe, these memories bring her back to a place where she didn’t have to worry about the possibility of “tyrants” abusing their power and ruining her country. The reader might get the impression that the voice of the poem is fond of these memories because they remind her of how having a childlike peace of mind made her see something good in everything. The hesitant choice “may” suggests she is in disbelief even as an adult. Her ignorance of the truth about her city, and the “tyrants” who hold the power, could potentially put her in danger.
Similarly, in ‘Tissue’, the poet focuses on the abuse of power in the modern world by presenting power as fragile. The simile “Might fly our lives like paper kites” reinforces the idea that power never lasts, which also links to the idea that power is transient. In addition, it reinforces the lack of control people have over power. The hesitant choice “might” proves that it is uncertain when individuals will lose power, but it could infer at the same time that it is inevitable. The noun “paper” alludes to the fragility of power and how it is our responsibility to ensure that we don’t misuse it. The theme of fragility conveys an image of weakness in the reader’s mind, although power is prominent in the poem. We discover that paper is extremely similar to power. Since “paper” is described as an extended metaphor for power by Dharker, it alludes to the idea that power is abused and mistreated just like “paper” is when it is quickly disposed of. Through this, the poet’s concern for how power is handled by society becomes evident. Interestingly, since Dharker’s poems tend to focus on many modern world issues such as terrorism, you could say that the fragility of power is ultimately the reason why the modern world is troubled by destruction, war and politics. The noun “kites” alludes to a childlike innocence, demonstrating how easy “our” lives would be if we regained a childlike peace of mind; the negative consequences of power wouldn’t affect us, because nobody would abuse its fragility.
In the poem ‘The Emigrée’, Rumens portrays the conflict between the speaker’s memories and the reality of her city as confusing. The antithesis “My memory of it is sunlight-clear […] in that November” infers confusion as the time of the year and weather do not match. This could suggest that the speaker’s opinion of her city is based more on emotions than the truth, which reinforces the idea that she remembers it as a child. You could say that the “memory” of her city is therefore flawed. The noun “sunlight” implies that although her “memories” might not be true, the determined voice of the poem gives the impression that she will always remember it as a happy place, because her city possesses power over her. We discover that her city is where she was truly happy. Ultimately, the speaker’s personal opinion by her city can never be altered – not even by the truth. The metaphorical choice of “sunlight” shows that she is protecting the city in her mind by never forgetting the good memories of it. Interestingly, every stanza of the poem end with the noun “sunlight”, which could prove that after all the terrible things that have happened to her city, she still hopes for the better. It is therefore evident that she is struggling to accept the current reality of her country, which creates a conflict between what she wishes to know and what she actually knows.
In ‘Tissue’, Dharker presents power as transient. The poet uses enjambment, which might represent the irregularity of life and power flowing seemlessly from one place to another. Moreover, the use of enjambment establishes a very human and calm tone which gives the impression of a soft voice to the reader, giving power a delicate nature. However, the full stops that are scattered across the stanzas interrupt the delicate nature of paper, creating abrupt pauses throughout the poem. You could say that these pauses are symbolic of the constant transition of power in nowadays’ society, therefore presenting power as uncontrollable. Dharker might’ve done this in order to emphasise the fact that power in society can’t be contained due to people only being able to hold it temporarily. In her other poems, Dharker has written about the way she values things which may seem to be trivial or easily lost or destroyed, which also emphasises the fragility of power. You could say that power is temporary to humans because of how easily it can be abused due to its fragility. However, this isn’t the case for nature. “The sun shines through […] the marks that rivers make” highlights the fact that the power of nature is triumphant in the conflict between the man-made world and the natural world. The noun “marks” implies that nature has stood the test of time and shows that power is constant for nature. Since there is more emphasis on nature, you could say that this alludes to the religious idea of God creating earth using his omnipotence. The semantic field of nature of the poem shows that ultimately, nature will hold power forever - therefore, we can’t control it.
I'm on the AQA board and I'm aiming for 8/9 in English Lit. Also, how can I write my essays quickly under timed conditions?
Please critique my poem comparison of Tissue and The Emigree Watch
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Last edited by dana27_; 3 weeks ago at 12:19.