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In the Midst of Hardship by Latiff Mohidin

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Yuwanes Skylar

on 27 October 2013

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Transcript of In the Midst of Hardship by Latiff Mohidin

In the Midst of Hardship
by Latiff Mohidin

Synopsis
This poem is about the situation of a farmer and his family.
They came back at dawn after being out in the floodwater for a day and night.
They were looking for their son’s albino buffalo.
They came back wet and wounded but they did not show any despair.
They have been born into a life of hardship and have never complained.
They went to the kitchen, joking and talking while preparing to smoke.

Literal and Figurative Meaning
Stanza 1
Literal Meaning:
The family returns home at daybreak, soaked wet.
They have scratches and wounds on their hands and legs.
They do not look depressed after what they have just gone through.

Figurative Meaning:
We may experience that are painful and challenging circumstances as in our life.
Despite these challenges, we should not despair.
We should face hardship with courage.

Stanza 2

Literal Meaning:
They have been out the whole day and night.
The floodwater is full of twigs, branches and dead animals.
They are looking for their son's albino buffalo and could not find it.

Figurative Meaning:
In our journey through life, we may face obstacles and tragic losses along the way.

Stanza 3
Literal Meaning:
Although they were born poor and have experienced a lot of hardships, they have grown up without regrets.
They are now relaxing in the kitchen, cracking jokes and preparing to smoke.

Figurative Meaning:
We may be born into a life of hardship, but that does not mean we should live in despair.
We should learn how to cope with the difficulties we face, instead of dwelling too much on them.
We should be ready and face the challenges in life instead of complaining.

Versification and Sound Pattern
No rhyme or rhythm.
Free verse form.
Conversational tone.
3 stanzas
The first 2 stanzas have 7 lines
The concluding stanza has 4 lines.

Settings
Setting of Place
In a village-
Where a flood has recently occurred.

In a couple's home -
Whose son had lost his albino buffalo

Setting of time
Dawn-
The narrator begins the poem by describing that the village couple came back after after a whole day and night.

(At dawn they returned home) (line 1, stanza 1)

Point of View
Third person point of view:
The use of
'They'.
The persona has visited or lived the rural folk he is describing.
The persona is amazed by the strength, courage and determination of the family experiencing hardship

Themes
Poverty and Hardship
Hardship suffered by this rural community.
They suffer
physically (their limbs marked by scratches) (line 4, stanza 1)
emotionally and mentally (desperately looking for their son’s albino buffalo) (line 13, stanza 2)

Resilience and Perseverance.
Despite the many adversities, they still carry on with life as if they do not have any problems.
(making jokes)
(line 17, stanza 3)
(rolling their cigarette leaves)
(line 17, stanza 3)

Family Love
Despite the terrible flood, the couples are willing to look for their son's albino buffalo the whole day and night.

(The whole day and night just passed)
(line 8, stanza 2)
(desperately looking for their son’s albino buffalo that was never found)
(line 13-14, stanza 2)

Moral Values
Literary Devices
Contrast
The flood scene is horrendous and dangerous.
(they had to brave the horrendous flood) (line 9, stanza 2)
In contrast, the scene in the kitchen is cheerful and calm
(now they are in the kitchen, making) (line 17, stanza 3)
(jokes while rolling their cigarettes leave) (line , stanza 1)

The people are physically wounded.
(their legs full of wounds) (line 5, stanza 1)
In contrast, they are emotionally calm and relaxed.
(there was no sign of despair) (line 7, stanza 1)

Imagery
Soaky clothes torn
(line 2, stanza 1)
- Sense of touch and sight

Legs full of wounds
(line 5, stanza 1)
- Sense of touch

Bloated carcasses
(line 11, stanza 2)
- Sense of smell and sight

Rolling cigarette leaves

(line 18, stanza 3)
- Sense of sight and smell

Symbols
Horrendous flood
(line 9, stanza 2)
- represents suffering and obstacles of life

Bloated carcasses
(line 11, stanza 2)
- represents death and decay

Albino buffalo
(line 14, stanza 2)
- represents treasured and valued objects.

The stove
(line 3, stanza 1)
- represents food and warmth

Alliteration
The repetition of consonants sounds at the beginning of words.

(
b
ut on their
b
rows) (line 6, stanza 1)
(
b
etween
b
loated carcasses) (line 11, stanza 2)

Mood, Tone and Atmosphere
Mood:

Thoughtful and sombre, and changes to delightful moment at the end of the stanza.

Atmosphere:

Acceptance of one's fate.

Tone:
Sympathetic and emphatic tone, last stanza ends on humorous tone.

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 no 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 son’s
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 cigarettes leave

Background of the Author
Name:
Latiff Muhidin
Profession :
Poet-painter.
Place of birth :
Lenggeng, Negeri Sembilan
Date of birth :
20th August 1941.
Nickname :
Called Boy Wonder since age of 11
Education :
Art education in Germany at Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste, Atelier La Courriere in France and Pratt Graphic Centre in America.
Achievement :
He is one of Malaysia’s most celebrated living artist and poet and is considered a national treasure.
He started writing poetry in the early sixties.

We should learn to accept problems in life with a positive outlook.
Even if face a lot a problems in life, we should take it as a challenge and try to overcome it positively and calmly without complain.

(They were born amidst hardship
and grew up without a sigh or a complaint) (line 15-16, stanza 3)
Trough thick or thin, we should not give up
Whatever challenges that are thrown to us, we should brace ourselves and never loose hope.

(their legs full of wounds
but on their brows
there was no sign of despair) (line 5-7, stanza 1)

Be thankful for everything that you have
We should appreciate life and be grateful for the things that we have.


(They were born amidst hardship
and grew up without a sigh or a complaint) (line 15-16, stanza 3)
Language and Style
Language
Simple and easy to understand.

Style

Simple with no rhyming scheme.
Full transcript