Powerlessness In Mother In A Refugee Camp

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In the poem Mother in a Refugee Camp, the themes of power and powerlessness are shown at the same time consistently throughout the poem. The powerless aspect is shown by the mother’s lack of ability to help her child, as he is described as ‘her tenderness for a son’ that she will ‘soon’ have to ‘forget’. This foreshadows the inevitability of his death and shows the difficulty of the position his mother is in, having to helplessly watch her own son perish. This is also further foreshadowed later on in the poem. Such as when the poet describes the mother’s actions towards her child: he says she is ‘combing’ the ‘hair left on his skull’. The word ‘skull’ is used as a representation of death and mortality, it displays the rapidity of his hair loss…show more content…
The poet explores the power of the child’s arrogance, as he believes he is clever and therefore powerful. For instance, when he says the people searching for him must ‘think’ he is ‘very clever’, as well as describing them as ‘puzzled’. The word ‘clever’ illustrates his self-confidence in his intelligence and he thinks he is one step ahead of them, which leads him to believe he has obtained power over them. However, this is thus contradicted later on, as he is then left alone, deserted, as an outcast. This is shown by the rhetorical question the poet poses at the end: ‘But where are they who sought you?’ The word ‘but’ reflects the child’s uncertainty, finally bringing him to the conclusion that he is in fact powerless. Another technique that the poet uses to emphasise the child’s powerlessness, is the personification of the landscape. The child describes the ‘darkening’ garden to be ‘watching’ him, creating a sinister tone. The word ‘watch’ builds up tension as he is meant to be alone; however he senses someone or something else’s presence. This metaphor is used to compare the garden to a predator waiting to attack him, showing his powerlessness. Another noticeable technique that the poet uses is prolonging the extended metaphor of the seaside. He first shows this by expressing that the tool-shed smells like the ‘seaside’, and follows by reassuring the dispirited child that they will…show more content…
Ozymandias was the leader of a previous dictatorship; all that is now left behind of him is a ‘vast’ statue of ‘stone’ which on the pedestal reads the words: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’. This showcases the element of power in the poem, the connotations of ‘vast’ and ‘stone’ are that it is a colossal and strong statue which is a representation of him; it reflects his thoughts about himself and illustrates his arrogance and power. The reader also picks up on his extreme sense of pride when he refers to himself in first person as he says ‘My name is Ozymandias’ and describes himself as the ‘king of kings’. However, this power is then contrasted by the current state of the statue which is described as ‘a colossal wreck’ with a ‘half sunk’ and ‘shattered visage’. As ‘nothing’ beside the statue ‘remains’, this use of short sentence further emphasises the powerlessness Ozymandias now
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