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BIS 3013: INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH LITERATURE

ASSIGNMENT 2: ANALYSIS IN POEMS


GROUP A

HAZNITA BT HANAFFI
ISZA ATIQA BT ISMAIL

SEMESTER 2, 2012/2013
AT 06 :
BACHELORS OF EDUCATION (HONS)
TEACHING ENGLISH AS SECOND LANGUAGE

LECTURERS NAME: DR. WAN MAZLINI



IN THE MIDST OF HARDSHIP

At dawn they returned home
their soaky clothes torn
and approached the stove
their limbs marked by scratches
their legs full of wounds
but on their brows
there was not a sign of despair
The whole day and night just passed
they had to brave the horrendous flood
in the water all the time
between bloated carcasses
and tiny chips of tree barks
desperately looking for their sons
albino buffalo that was never found
They were born amidst hardship
and grew up without a sigh or a complaint
now they are in the kitchen, making
jokes while rolling their cigarette leaves






SYNOPSIS (OVERALL):
In this poem, the poet tells of the situation of a farmer and his family. They come back at dawn
after being out in the floodwater for a day and night. They are looking for their albino buffalo.
They come back wet and hurt but they do not show any despair. They have been born into a life
of hardship and have never complained. The villagers live in hardship and poverty but they
accept their fate and make the best of their situation. Now, they are in the kitchen and they joke
and talk while preparing to relax with a smoke.

LITERARY ELEMENTS OF THE POEM
SETTINGS:
Place
A remote village where life is simple and the people live in hardship and poverty.
A flood has just occurred causing destruction to livestock and crops
The scenes take place out in the flooded village and inside the house (kitchen).
Time
Set in the past. The scene could also be in the present in the more remote areas of the
country.
The poem opens with dawn when the family returns home and is now relaxing in the
kitchen. They have spent the entire previous day and night in the floodwaters searching
for a buffalo.

THEMES
Poverty and hardship
On a wider perspective is the perennial problem of poverty in the rural community. It
seems to be an endless cycle of want and suffering which has been accepted and endured
as their permanent lot in his life. They suffer physically (their limbs marked by
scratches, their legs full of wounds) as well as emotionally and mentally (desperately
looking for their sons albino buffalo). Born amidst hardship, they knew no other life
and grew up without a sigh or complaint.
Optimism and courage in adversity
The village folk remain happy and hopeful despite their difficult lives. After the flood,
they go home and return to their normal routine of cooking, cleaning and socializing. In
fact, they are cheerful as they joke while rolling their cigarette leaves. These qualities of
courage, endurance and optimism in adversity impress the persona.

MESSAGES
Be resilient persevere during difficulties times
The villagers were strong and resilient during and after the flood disaster. Hence, we too
must be courageous during trials and persevere, for good always comes out of a
seemingly hopeless situation.
Be optimistic in the face of challenges
Life is filled with challenges. We should not do nothing and feel sorry for ourselves when
we face a problem. If we have a positive attitude, the challenge will be less unpleasant
and easier to manage. Hopefully, we will also take positive action to solve the problem or
improve the situation.
Hardship and suffering build character
All of us experience some form of hardship or suffering in our journey through life. If we
are positive, courageous and persevering during hardship, we will gradually become
emotionally and mentally stronger. Challenges, hardship and suffering help to build our
character.
MORAL VALUES
Courage
Courage in time of trials is a value to be encouraged. Here, the villagers who have been
used to natural disasters soldier on despite the physical hurt and emotional toll they have
endured. In fact, they are cheerful as they resume their daily duties.
Resilience and perseverance
Both mental and emotional strength are important if we are to persevere in life which is
often fraught with challenges. If we are resilient and able to stand up and remain sturdy in
difficult situations, we will be better equipped to walk the long and eventful journey of
life.
Compassion
The persona observes the courage and positive attitude of the villagers in the face of
disaster. He evokes in us a feeling of compassion for the poor, flood stricken villagers.
Hopefully, this feeling of compassion will progress into positive steps to help relieve the
plight of disaster victim.
TONE AND MOOD
Sympathetic
The persona is sympathetic towards the people in the poem. At the same time, the
persona admires the rural folk for their positive attitude and perseverance despite their
hard life.

Reflective
The mood of the last stanza is reflective. Like the persona, we are moved to rethink our
own actions and reactions in the face of challenges. Perhaps the poem also help us to look
at life differently
LANGUAGE AND STYLE
Literary devices
Contrast
Between the villagers scratched and wounded limbs and their facial expressions that do
not betray feelings of despair or hurt. Although they have been hurt physically, they do
not allow it to affect them emotionally, as life must go on.
However this emotion contrasts with their desperation when they were looking for their
buffalo.
Between the cold weather, chilly flood waters and the heat from the stove and their warm
fellowship as they enjoy a cigarette.
Between two types of destruction caused by the flood, the big (bloated carcasses) and
the small (chips of tree barks)
Imagery
Vivid descriptions of the villagers in torn, drenched clothes with scratches all over their
bodies.
The images associated with a flood dead floating carcasses, broken three parts, heavy
water.
The picture of villagers relaxing in the kitchen after a days work leisurely smoking and
talking.
Diction
In stanza 1, the adjective soaky implies that the villagers were drenched to the skin.
Their torn clothes were plastered to their weary, bruised bodies, marked by scratches
and full of wounds.
In stanza 2, horrendous flood allows the reader to visualize that the flood was
tremendous in its destruction.
The adverb desperately shows how frantically the farmers were looking for their sons
albino buffalo.
POINT OF VIEW
Third person point of view.







NATURE
We have neither Summer nor Winter
Neither Autumn nor Spring.
We have instead the days
When the gold sun shines on the lush green cane fields-
Magnificently.
The days when the rain beats like bullet on the roofs
And there is no sound but thee swish of water in the gullies
And trees struggling in the high Jamaica winds.
Also there are the days when leaves fade from off guango trees
And the reaped cane fields lie bare and fallow to the sun.
But best of all there are the days when the mango and the logwood blossom
When bushes are full of the sound of bees and the scent of honey,
When the tall grass sways and shivers to the slightest breath of air,
When the buttercups have paved the earth with yellow stars
And beauty comes suddenly and the rains have gone.


SYNOPSIS
The poem describes the weather conditions in Jamaica. It emphasizes that Jamaica does not have
the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Nevertheless, the weather conditions of
golden sunny days and wet rainy days are just as good and are almost similar to the four seasons.
It is a descriptive poem about the changing weather. It celebrates the richness of the lands
produce and how alive and abundant Nature is. Through the poem, the poet describes the beauty
of the weather in Jamaica. There are hot sunny days and cold wet windy and rainy days. It is so
pleasant that there is little climate difference between the seasons. Most days are sunny with the
gold sun shines on the cane fields. Even on rainy days, it is a beautiful sight. The fruit trees
blossom and the bushes are full of bees. The tall grass sways gently in the breeze. As for the
buttercups, they cover the ground and look like yellow stars. It is indeed a beautiful sight. This is
a poem that really sums up the fact that seasons do not make a difference in the islands.
LITERARY ELEMENTS OF THE POEM
SETTING
The setting is clearly Jamaica. Nature is described through the description of weather being hot
and wet. The poet also uses other elements of nature such as trees, bushes, flowers, and fruits to
portray nature as alive and bountiful. The weather is portrayed as bright and sunny with flowers
blooming. If the weather gets bad and turns wet with its heavy downpours and strong wind, it is
said that all will eventually pass. The poet shares his enthusiasm and gratitude and appreciation
for nature as the end of the poem. There is no specified time mentioned in this poem.
THEMES
There are a few themes in the poem. Firstly, we must celebrate nature. However we always
remain humble. We cannot take things for granted. Nature is wonderful and we should admire it.
However, its power has no limits and can be unpredictable. We see this when weather changes in
a wink of an eye, calm at one moment and the other, showing off its destructive force. The same
weather can be quiet and stagnant and revitalizing the earth with growth and beauty in the next.
Secondly, the themes of the natural cycle of life and the many phases of life are explored.
The poets central message is the beauty of nature. It is natural to have good moments at one
time and bad moments in the next. There is life and there is death. Usually when the struggle is
over, we will see new life blooming in front of us.
Finally, there is the theme of appreciating ones country. There are ups and downs
everywhere. The beauty and goodness of ones country should be appreciated.

TONE AND MOOD
The poet shows that his proudness of ones country. We can also see that the poet admiring of
nature in this poem. The tone is definitely carefree and light hearted. The poet writes in a very
relaxed manner as he appreciates the beauty of nature. It portrays a feeling of happiness.

SYMBOLS
The gold sun symbolizes the summer and warmth. It makes people feel comfortable as there is
light and brightness. Another symbol is the rain. The rain symbolizes the winter time. It is cold
and wet. In addition, buttercups can be a symbol of beauty.

LITERARY DEVICES
Imagery
Imagery is dominant in the poem. Imagery of sight such as buttercups have paved the
earth with yellow stars allows readers to visualize the colourful nature. Words related to
colours and light are used to help the readers visualize the beauty of nature.
Imagery of sound is shown through the swish of the water in the gullies, rain beats like
bullet on the roofs and the sound of the bees.
The scent of honey is an example of the imagery of taste.
The imagery of smell is shown through The mango and logwood blossom.
Personification
Personification is also used effectively and this is shown through the tall grass sways
and shivers to the slightest breath of air.
Contrast
There is also contrast in the poem, for example the gold sun shines and the magnificent
lush green cane fields.

POINT OF VIEW
Third person point of view.