Refugee mother and her child by Chinua Achebe

Categories: Refugees

Describe what the poem is about and how the poet communicates the emotions he feels. The poem has to do with Achebe’s encounter with a mother and kid in a refugee camp. This mother was various from the other mothers as she still cherished and liked her child. The other moms had actually currently stopped looking after their children as survival was not the most crucial thing and there wasn’t any hope of survival for their children anyhow. In line 9: “The majority of mothers there had long ceased to care” The poet’s tone was varied, in the very first stanza he utilized long, soft vowels such as the vowel ‘o’ and words such as ‘tenderness’.

In line 4, Achebe chose to utilized the word ‘odour’ instead of the word ‘odor’ or ‘odor’ due to the fact that it sounded softer and more rounded. The softness continued till the beginning of line 5 where Achebe utilized hard-sounding words such as ‘diarrhoea’ and ‘blown’.

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The truth that the child will die is hinted repeatedly. From line 7 to line 14 of the 2nd verse, he appeared to be admiring the mother’s love for her kid in even those circumstances. At the end, his tone was unfortunate and regretful. In the last 3 lines: “… like putting flowers on a tiny tomb. “There was alliteration in line 5 of the 2nd stanza: “behind blown empty stubborn bellies” The poet used the work “ghost” as a metaphor in lines 8 and 9 of the second stanza. In “ghost smile”, he implied the softening of the mother’s expression as she looked at her kid.

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There was repeating of “ghost” and in “ghost of a mom’s pride”, it represented what the mother utilized to feel and here there was just the tiniest left of it. The last 2 lines were a smilie, he’s saying that her combing her son’s hair is like a final bye-bye because she would probably never ever get to do it again.

In the first line, “Madonna and Child”, this is the scene when Christ was taken from the cross and positioned on Mary’s knees. Achebe is stating that even this scene could not have actually been more touching than of the refugee mom and her kid. In line 3: “for a boy she quickly would need to forget.” Here he suggests that after the boy dies, the mom will have to focus on survival for herself, requiring her to forget her child. This will not be able to mourn her kid. In line 4: “The air was heavy with smells …” The air was thick with the stink.

The air was so dense that it seemed it had a weight and was more than just gas. In lines 7 and 8: “Struggling in laboured steps… ” Even walking is difficult for them. Walking is hard work. Achebe doesn’t know the mother’s name, so he refers to her as “she” and “her”. “Rust-coloured” is the colour of a dark-haired person’s hair when he or she has an inadequate diet. The hair signals that the child is incredibly unhealthy and on the verge of dying. In line 11: “… hair left on his skull… ” The child is in such poor health that his hair has fallen out.

Achebe used the work “skull” because it showed how poorly the boy was and because it represented death. In line 12: “- Singing in her eyes – ” The hyphens surrounding this phrase outlined its significance. This was probably because the mother remembers singing to him, when they were happy. From line 15: “act of no consequence… ” Combing her son’s hair would usually be something a mother wouldn’t think twice about. They were probably quite well off before they were in this situation. The punctuation Achebe used were little. At the end of the first verse he put a period.

This is because he was finalizing a statement. At the end of line 5 of the second stanza, there’s another period. This is because he’d finished describing about the surroundings and was moving onto the mother. In line 7, there was a semi-colon, which indicates a pause. There is another one in line 16. In line 13 there are three periods together. This is usually used to signify that something will eventually continue. At the end of the poem he put another period. This is because he is ending the poem and also because he is once again finalizing something.

Since the child is dying, death is final, so the period was suitable. In lines 13 to 16, Achebe introduced the possibility that the mother and child were probably quite well off before they were in this situation. However, their lives had changed and it was no longer that comfortable lifestyle. I thought the poem was sad. It showed how disasters could change the feelings and lives of normal people like you and me. It was an eye-opening poem, and it made me realise that if I weren’t living this lifestyle that boy may well have been anyone I know or me.

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Refugee mother and her child by Chinua Achebe. (2017, Sep 29). Retrieved from

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