A Mother In A Refugee Camp Analysis

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There are many different ways in which love is explored and expressed. My Last Duchess by Robert Browning discusses the obsessive love for a spouse, while A mother in a refugee camp by Chinua Achebe explores the motherly love for a child and finally, La Belle Dame Sans merci by John Keats describes love at first sight. A range of poetic devices and language techniques are employed by the various poets to convey their respective views as well as challenging the reader’s own idea of what love is.

A mother in a refugee camp was written in reference to the war and separation of Nigeria and Biafra, detailing the severe conditions of the refugee camps where disease was rife and children died with unconcerned regularity. Achebe had worked as an ambassador for the Biafran government when in 1967 civil war broke out in Nigeria and the Achebe’s firsthand experience of the struggle and hardship inspired him to write ‘ A mother in a refugee camp’ .The poem details one story of a mother who continued to treat her dying son as if he would live.

The poem starts off by the comparison of Michelangelo’s Pieta, a sculpture of Mary holding Jesus in her arms to the scene of a mother holding her dying son with love and care. The metaphor of the sculpture symbolizes a caring mother, with Mary expressing a character of love, care and honesty. The contrast between the words “tenderness” and “forget” reinforces the distinction between Madonna and the refugee mother. The poem acts as a testament
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