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Walking Both Sides of an

Invisible Border

Walking Both
Sides of an
Invisible Border
By: Alootook Ipellie

About Alootook Ipellie

Alootook was born in present day

Nunavut on August 11, 1951. He was a
Inuit graphic artist, political and satirical
cartoonist, a writer, photographer and
Inuktitut translator. Growing up he has
to adjust from the traditional nomadic
Inuit way of life to life in the
government-sponsored Inuit settlements.

Some of Alootook Artwork

Why did I choose this poem?

I chose this poem because it is about how the Inuit are forced into a governmental
society and how they dont ask to be raised like this, raised into two opposing cultures.
Its about how when you walk that line between cultures sometimes it becomes so
difficult to keep one foot on each side while moving forward. And I know that I cant
directly relate to that feeling but I know people who can and this poem helps me
understand the struggles they face a little bit better.
When you read the poem you sort of understand what Alootook is trying to get
through to you, but if you look at some of his artwork you get a deeper understanding
of what he is saying.

When I first read this poem my original thoughts about it was it was about breaking free from the system and
holding onto what you have left, his fancy dancing. But after looking into Alootook and some of his artwork
and listening to recitations of this poem, I realized its actually about how the Inuit peoples are being forced
into a governmental society. Its about how they are constantly walking along a border separating the two
opposing cultures trying to hold on to what they have even when its difficult.

Is like having been sentenced to a torture chamber without having committed a crime - This line is referring
to how living as an Inuit can be a living hell sometimes and how they are constantly trying to fight the system
for their rights.
So I am left to fend for myself walking in two different worlds trying my best to make sense of two opposing
cultures which are unable to integrate lest they swallow one another whole - When he wrote this line to me
its saying how difficult it is to try to keep both cultures happy while they are fighting each other.

Breaking Down the Poem

This poem is an example of a Lyric poem for the simple fact that it is telling a story but
not in a definitive narrative way. Also because it pulls on emotions and is almost a
song like piece of writing.
This poem could be interpreted in many different ways just like any other poem. The
way that I take the poem is almost as if Alootook is mad and trying to get across to
people how difficult it is to live as a Inuit these days, since everything is becoming so
governmental. It makes me stop and think about how easy it is to be able to live my
culture and be able to vividly express myself without any consequences. Others may
take it as though he is trying to get through the importance of staying true and doing
what you love, fancy dancing.

Classmates Opinions
This poem has nice flow and it tells a
very long story in a little amount of
words. It is kind of hard to follow but it
has a nice rhythm to it. It makes me
think of how many different people can
be jam packed into one body.
~Gracie Smith

It makes me feel like there is a sense

of hopelessness or depression
following birth and that they have
to choose between two sides to live
~Kirk Cooke

I like the use of figurative

language. I like all the symbolism.
It has a nice flow and is very
fluent. I quite enjoy that.
~ Kiera Kruger

Literary Devices

And for the rest of my life is like having been sentenced to a torture chamber (Lines 12-14) - In this line
Alootook used Simile because they are not actually sentenced to a torture chamber, it is just so difficult
for them it feels as though they have been.
Destiny acted itself out (Line 44)- Since destiny is an inanimate object, this line has Personification in it
for it could not actually act itself out.
Walking in two different worlds (Line 48) - This is an example of a Metaphor because he is not actually
walking in two different worlds although it may feel like it, he is still in the same world just different

Lest they swallow one another whole (Line 52) - Another example of Personification because the two
worlds could not physically swallow one another whole.

All throughout the poem the use of repetition was used especially when referring to his left and right foot.

Golden Line and Theme Words

Destiny acted itself out
Deciding for me where I would come from
And what I would become (Line 44-46)

I chose this line because it really seems to sum up

majority of the poem, saying how the Inuit dont
get to chose their lives anymore and destiny has
been changed.

Theme words I found that suit this poem are,

Crime, guilt, and innocence

Inhumanity towards other humans
The need to fight racial discrimination
Identity and society

Work Cited
"Alootook Ipellie." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.
"Walking Both Sides of an Invisible Border." Poetry In Voice. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.
"Alootook Ipellie - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia." N.p., 2014. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.
"Alootook Ipellie." Poetry In Voice. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.
@AdAstraComics. "Arctic Dreams and Nightmares: Into the Art of Alootook Ipellie." |. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.
"Foot Prints Pictures." Cliparts. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.

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