Literary Analysis Of Elizabeth Burge's 'Ispahan Carpet ''

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Elizabeth Burge’s poem, “Ispahan Carpet,” is narrated from the point of view of a tourist who witnesses the production of Persian carpets and the abuse of child-labor within the confines of a room “bare but for blackened pots and jars” (3). This poem develops and explores ideas about human imprisonment, the inescapable nature of culture and the cruel traditions that encompasses said culture. Throughout the poem, sensory imagery is used to describe the inhumane condition of the sweatshop and create a dark atmosphere. Figurative language is used to describe the exploitation and dehumanization of the child weavers, while poetic structure emphasizes their prolonged confinement and vicious cycle created by their culture and traditions. The general effect of Burge’s deliberate use of literary technique emphasizes the motif of appearance versus reality as he shows the readers the unknown dark side in the underdeveloped world, suggesting the lamentable conditions for those who are currently bound by poverty and cruel traditions.

Written in five stanzas, the persona conveys his feelings about the child weavers methodically, bringing each aspect to focus one at a time, through sensory
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The repetition of the phrase “one hundred” in the beginning of lines 15 to 17 is reminiscent to line 13. Lines 15 to 17 are a turning point in the poem as the structural repetition of the phrase “one hundred” reflects how this number is unsettling to the poet and intensifies the painful and trapped feeling built up in the first two stanzas. It is evident that poet feels that although “one hundred to the square centimeter” may be evidence representing the efficiency of the weavers that the producers are proud of, this number also represents the pain, sacrifice, suffering and confinement behind all the astonishing “traditional beauty” (19) of these Persian
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