At the Border, 1979

At the Border, 1979 At the Border, 1979 - Start

2016-10-15 101K 101 0 0

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Summary of the poem. The poet describes how, at the age of five, she and her family crossed back into Iraq, the country where she had been born.. She remembers her sister’s naïve playful attitude, the sternness of the border guards, the mothers being very emotional because they could return home.... ID: 476272 Download Presentation

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At the Border, 1979




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Presentations text content in At the Border, 1979

Slide1

At the Border, 1979

Slide2

Summary of the poem

The poet describes how, at the age of five, she and her family crossed back into Iraq, the country where she had been born.

She remembers her sister’s naïve playful attitude, the sternness of the border guards, the mothers being very emotional because they could return home, and one man’s display of affection for his homeland.

Since she was so young, she could not understand why a ‘thick iron chain’ should make any difference between two countries that looked identical to her: the soil ‘continued on the other side’, it was raining on both sides of the chain and the same Kurdistan mountains surrounded them.

Yet the adults were behaving as if something important were happening

Slide3

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‘It is your last check-in point in this country!’We grabbed a drink – soon everything would taste different.The land under our feet continueddivided by a thick iron chain.

Annotation

Suggests control by officials

They expect everything will taste different in a diff country

Sense of urgency and anxiety

An artificial, manmade division

Slide5

My sister put her leg across it.‘Look over here,’ she said to us,‘my right leg is in this countryAnd my left leg in the other.’The border guards told her off.My mother informed me: we are going home.She said that the roads are much cleanerthe landscape is more beautifuland people are much kinder.

Shows how insignificant the border is physically

Unthreatening – makes the guards seem silly for caring about something trivial

Caesura – makes the mother’s announcement seem grand and significant

Mother’s exaggeration

suggests patriotic prejudice

Slide6

Dozens of families waited in the rain.‘I can inhale home,’ somebody said.Now our mothers were crying. I was five years oldstanding by the check-in pointcomparing both sides of the border

The adults reaction seems dramatic

Logical behaviour in comparison to the adults

Slide7

The autumn soil continued on the other side with the same colour, the same texture.It rained on both sides of the chainWe waited while our papers were checked,our faces thoroughly inspected.Then the chain was removed to let us through.A man bent down and kissed his muddy homelandThe same chain of mountains encompassed all of us.

Natural qualities remain the same – divisions are imposed by people

Repetition used for emphasis

Simple statement of fact – unlike the adults, she’s unaffected by emotions

Passive construction keeps the controllers anonymous and powerful

His reaction seems exaggerated as the land is nothing special

Slide8

Form and Structure

Form:

The poem is written in the

first person

showing it’s a personal memory. The stanzas of unequal lengths suggests

fragments of memories

occurring to the character as she places together memories of the scene. The use of caesura and enjambment reinforce this impression

Structure:

The beginning of the poem uses a lit of

direct speech,

The tone becomes more

reflective

in stanzas 6 and 7 as the poet describes the lack of difference between the two sides of the border.

Slide9

Language

Child – Like Language:

The poem is written in a

simple, conversational

style with no obvious description or imagery. The short sentences create a sense of a child’s memory and make the message – that borders are

artificial

and

unnecessary

seem

obvious

Direct Speech:

Natural conversation makes the scene more

convincing

and real

Passive Speech:

Impersonal descriptions emphasises how the families are in the power of the

officials

who decide on national boundaries.

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