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A Mother in a Refugee Camp

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Elise Wright

on 24 June 2015

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Transcript of A Mother in a Refugee Camp

Meaning- A mother cares for her dying child during the Nigerian civil war

Aim- To inform people about the suffering of the refugees, specifically those during the Nigerian civil war, and to get an emotional response from them.

Poetic Devices
by Chinua Achebe
A Mother in a Refugee Camp
About Chinua Achebe
Structure and Form
Themes and Tones
Examples of Love
Examples of Loss
Examples of Suffering
Born in Nigeria in 1930
Award winning author
Wrote "A Mother in a Refugee Camp" during the
civil war
between Nigeria and Biafra
Moved to America in his later life
Died in 2013
Examples of Religion
Free verse
No rhyme scheme
One stanza
-Ellipses are used to show the progression of the poem
- represents fleeting time
: Simple structure and form allows the reader to focus only on the content, giving a better understanding of the life refugees had to live
Time Scale
The poem is split into 3 sections:

Future - lines 1-3

Present - lines 4-16

Past - lines 17-20
"Her tenderness for a son" -line 2

"Other mothers there Had long ceased to care, but not this one" -lines 6-7

"And in her eyes the memory Of a mother’s pride" -lines 10-11
"She soon would have to forget. . . ." -line 3

"She held a ghost-smile between her teeth" -line 9

"Like putting flowers on a tiny grave" -line 20
Connotative meaning
the emotions/associations that are connected with certain words
"Mother" - safety, protective, caring, loving
"heavy" - dense, suffocating
"bottoms waddling" - innocent, childlike
"ghost" - death, scary, sadness
"skull" - delicate, deathly
"tiny grave" - worst type of death, unfair

"The air was heavy with odors of diarrhea,
Of unwashed children with washed-out ribs
And dried-up bottoms waddling in labored steps
Behind blown-empty bellies. " lines 4-7

"bare palms" -line 11

"The rust-colored hair left on his skull" -line 15
Effect - shifts in time frames, allows their life then and now to be juxtaposed, so we can easily compare them
Line 16 - "And then - humming in her eyes- began to part it"
This is a metaphor. The humming in her eyes suggests that she is crying

Line 20 - "Like putting flowers on a tiny grave "
This is a simile. She is comparing motherly duties to death; it also implies that her son is already dead.

Lines 5 and 6 - "Of unwashed children with washed-out ribs and dried-up bottoms waddling in labored steps"
Metaphor. The Enjambment in this sentence can be seen as the life of the children flowing out of them, just like the diarrhea that is flowing out of the children’s bodies.
"No Madonna and Child could touch" - line 1

"ghost-smile" - line 9

"former life" - line 17
Full transcript