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The Pomegranate by Eavan Boland

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Hinati Arisumi

on 19 February 2014

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Transcript of The Pomegranate by Eavan Boland

Connections to Modern Life
"Our heart-broken searching" refers to the emotions of all mothers in general.
Eavan draws parallels with the myth, comparing Ceres desperate search to get back Persephone with the emotions modern-day mothers feel when their children become independent
The relationship between Ceres and Persephone can also be seen as the relationship between England and Ireland.
Central Assertion
The relationship between mother and child is a difficult one, always experiencing change and hardship. Parents want the best for their children, even if it means sacrifice.
Connections Between Poet's Life and Ideas Presented
Eavan Boland compares her relationship with her daughter to the relationship between Ceres and Persephone.
In the first line, the speaker indicates the importance the story of Ceres and Persephone through "the only legend I have ever loved is the story of a daughter lost in hell."
Eavan Boland is of Irish descent
When she was young, she moved to London from Ireland.
She feels lost and alone since she uses negative diction like "strange" and "exiled".
Allusions in the Poem
The main allusion to Greek mythology is in the title "the pomegranate", as well as repeated references to the story of Persephone's kidnapping. through lines such as "She could have come home and been safe, and ended the story and all." and "But she reached out her hand and plucked a pomegranate".
The poem also alludes to the cycle of life.
This cycle cannot be broken. As much as the author wants her daughter to be safe from dangers, she will be a part of the cycle of life. Just as Ceres cannot stop Persephone from going to the underworld, nor can the cycle of seasons be changed.
Tone of the Poem
This picture shows Persephone being kidnapped by Hades while Ceres desperately tries to save her
"The only legend I have ever loved" makes an immediate allusion that ties back to the title.
The use of first-person draws readers in and lets us see things through the author's eyes. It also allows the focus to be on the speaker herself and her personal life.
The tone of the poem progresses from narrative to frantic and desperate. "I was ready to make any bargain to keep her".
By separating the poem into two narrative sections, the poet generates a gradual, timeless mood.
The Pomegranate by Eavan Boland
Analysis of Title
The Pomegranate
"Pomegranate" alludes to the abduction of Persephone by Hades, and being forced to eat a pomegranate.
In Greek mythology, the pomegranate is viewed as the fruit of the dead. It also represents exotic desires and curiosities
Refers back to the legend of how Hades kidnapped Persephone and kept her in the underworld
Also hints that the speaker's relationship with her daughter is changing; from always being together to becoming separated
By Eavan Boland
The speaker is saying that she has experienced both sides of the story and has seen the situation from both points of view, as the child and as the mother
This means that she knows the story that will happen to her daughter too
The speaker knows what is to come. She knows that change is eminent and inescapable
She knows that her daughter will become independent and separate from her. The speaker is reluctant to let go, willing to "make any bargain to keep her"
"Winter" refers to the ending of childhood and the progression into adulthood
Poet does a play on words where she uses "pomme" and "granite" to sound out "pomegranate"
This also indicates that the character being described may not even understand what the fruit is and what is signifies
Using this technique, the speaker leads us to think that the daughter is still young and naive, unable to comprehend some aspects of society
The speaker expresses the desire to warn her daughter about the dangers she will face and the harshness of reality where "the rain is cold"
She also wants to protect her daughter from growing up and having to face the world alone
"I could warn her" shows the speaker debating with herself. "it is not too late" to save her daughter, however doing so would "diminish the gift".
The daughter will enter adulthood and become independent
"She will wake up" may refer to the waking of desires brought about by the exotic pomegranate
"hold the papery flushes skin in her hand", meaning that the daughter accepts the passing of time and coming of maturity because she is holding the pomegranate in her hand.
Even in Underworld, where there is death and suffering, something good can happen as long as there is effort and hardship put in
An example of this is how Persephone eventually came to love Hades and embraced her role as Queen of the Underworld
The speaker presents us with a rhetorical question to show that she is questioning herself
She wants to give her daughter youth and happiness, not wanting her to face the harshness of reality but the speaker knows that she must let her daughter experience life in her own way and let her face challenges alone
Poet uses alteration in poem structure to separate the first part of the story from the second
The only legend I have ever loved is
the story of a daughter lost in hell.
And found and rescued there.
Love and blackmail are the gist of it.
Ceres and Persephone the names.
And the best thing about the legend is
I can enter it anywhere. And have.
As a child in exile in
a city of fogs and strange consonants,
I read it first and at first I was
an exiled child in the crackling dusk of
the underworld, the stars blighted. Later
I walked out in a summer twilight
searching for my daughter at bed-time.
When she came running I was ready
to make any bargain to keep her.
I carried her back past whitebeams
and wasps and honey-scented buddleias.
But I was Ceres then and I knew
winter was in store for every leaf
on every tree on that road.
Was inescapable for each one we passed.
And for me.
It is winter
and the stars are hidden.
I climb the stairs and stand where I can see
my child asleep beside her teen magazines,
her can of Coke, her plate of uncut fruit.
The pomegranate! How did I forget it?
She could have come home and been safe
and ended the story and all
our heart-broken searching but she reached
out a hand and plucked a pomegranate.
She put out her hand and pulled down
the French sound for apple and
the noise of stone and the proof
that even in the place of death,
at the heart of legend, in the midst
of rocks full of unshed tears
ready to be diamonds by the time
the story was told, a child can be
hungry. I could warn her. There is still a chance.
The rain is cold. The road is flint-colored.
The suburb has cars and cable television.
The veiled stars are above ground.
It is another world. But what else
can a mother give her daughter but such
beautiful rifts in time?
If I defer the grief I will diminish the gift.
The legend will be hers as well as mine.
She will enter it. As I have.
She will wake up. She will hold
the papery flushed skin in her hand.
And to her lips. I will say nothing.
Here the speaker indicates that she was still a child when she read the legend
"An exiled child", she is cast away to somewhere new. She was Persephone, being pulled into a new society
"The stars blighted" indicates loss and despair. It also creates a shift in the poem
"Later" she became a mother and saw things in the perspective of Ceres
These are all signs that time is continually passing and that the maturity and independence that the speaker fears is inescapable and drawing near
"The Pomegranate."
Eavan Boland
. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <http://eavanbolandnotes.wordpress.com/the-pomegranate/>.
Persephone and Demeter
. Digital image.
Mythology Book
. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.myastrologybook.com/PersephoneDemeter20q@72.jpg>.
Clear, ESat.
The Pomegranate by Eavan Boland
. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Doc.
. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <http://www.cornellcollege.edu/classical_studies/cla216-2-a/demeter/analysis02.html>.
"The Pomegranate" by Eavan Boland."
. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art23633.asp>.
"Eavan Boland Poems."
. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2014. <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Eavan-Boland-Poems-646478.html>.
Boland, Eavan. "The Pomegranate."
. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2014. <http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15385>.
The only legend I have ever loved
is the story of a daughter lost in hell.

As a child in exile in a city of fogs and strange consonants

I read it first and at first I was an exiled child in the crackling dusk of the underworld, the stars blighted.

She will enter it. As I have.
She will wake up. She will hold

But I was Ceres and I knew
winter was in store for every leaf
on every tree on that road.

But what else can a mother give her daughter but such beautiful rifts in time?

In the end, the author decides against warning her daughter of the dangers yet to come .
Rhetorical Question
Full transcript