Refugee Mother and Child
by Chinua Achebe
No Madonna and Child could touch
that picture of a mother's tenderness
for a son she soon will have to forget.
The air was heavy with odors
of diarrhea of unwashed children
with washed-out ribs and dried-up
bottoms struggling in labored
steps behind blown empty bellies.
Most mothers there had long ceased
to care but not this one; she held
a ghost smile between her teeth
and in her eyes the ghost of a mother's
pride as she combed the rust-colored
hair left on his skull and then -
singing in her eyes - began carefully
to part it... In another life
this would have been a little daily
act of no consequence before his
breakfast and school; now she
did it like putting flowers
on a tiny grave.
Summary: The poem "Refugee Mother and Child" by Chinua Achebe deals with the sadness of death. The author conveys this theme by creating a tragic atmosphere through the introduction of shocking images and strong words.
In th poem "Refugee Mother and Child" by Chinua Achebe the sadness of death is shown by creating a tragic atmosphere by introducing shocking images and strong words.
At the beginning, in the first stanza, the author strikes us by telling us the child will soon die; "for a soon she soon will have to forget." This strong image of a mother and her son is more touching than the "Madonna and Child." The use of alliteration in "a son she soon" reinforces the idea of proximity of death.
The author uses simple and strong vocabulary, giving more emphasis to what is actually said than to the way it is said. This also helps in creating the tragic atmosphere by the use of words such a "diarrhoea" or "dried up ribs" or "washed out bottoms." we can clearly see that the child is suffering from starvation.
"When the poet mentions the "ghost smile", she tries to express that there once was a "smile between her teeth", but now it is slowly disappearing, referring to a ghost, but something still remains, she still remembers or longs for "her mothers pride" .
The fact that "Most mothers there had long ceased to care but not this one" reinforces the idea that she still wants to share time with her son .
A very shocking image used in the poem is the one where the mother combs her son, "as putting flowers in a tiny grave",preparing him for his funeral.
The author expresses the sadness of death by showing the way a mother says goodbye to her son.
maddonna:شمایل حضرت مریم
odor: بو .رایحه
wash -out:بی رنگ و رو .بیجان
blown:به صدا در امدن .با خود بردن
ceased:متوقف. دست کشیدن.