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The Black Lace Fan My Mother Gave Me

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Anna Jean Enmil

on 2 December 2013

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Transcript of The Black Lace Fan My Mother Gave Me

The Black Lace Fan My Mother Gave Me - Eavan Boland
It was the

first gift
he ever gave her,
buying it for five francs in the Galleries
Paris. It was

starless drought
made the nights stormy.

They stayed in the city for the summer.
They met in cafés. She was always early.
He was late. That evening he was later.
They wrapped the fan. He looked at his watch.

She looked down the Boulevard des Capucines.
She ordered more coffee. She stood up.
The streets were emptying. The
was killing.
She thought the distance smelled of

These are wild roses, appliqued on silk by hand,
darkly picked, stitched boldly, quickly.
The rest is
and has the reticent,
clear patience of its element. It is
a worn-out
underwater bullion
and it keeps,
even now, an
inference of its violation
The lace is overcast as if the weather
it opened for and offset had entered it.

The past is an empty café terrace.
An airless dusk before thunder. A man running.
And no way now to know what happened then –
none at all – unless, of course, you improvise.

The blackbird on this first sultry morning
in summer, finding buds, worms, fruit,
feels the heat. Suddenly she puts out her wing –
the whole, full, flirtatious span of it.

Pronouns - the use of pronouns makes the
beginning of the poem vague, it is ambiguous
meaning that it may have more than one
periods - the use of periods cause the reader
frustration from pausing every few words.
(Caesura - strong pause within a line)
that was the “first” meaning that there were more
starless drought: no stars in the sky
very hot, or making one feel constrained or oppressed.
Boland just uses a pronoun, making the readers
unaware of which definition is being used.

pre-war: setting, there may be nervous tension
This Stanza begins to describe the fan,
in the first three stanzas Boland
describes her mother and father’s past,
but now she is describing the fan in detail
with much longer sentences than she did
previously. This is because the fan is in her
hands, in front of her unlike in the past
which happened before she was born.

wild roses - on the fan, possibly representing
the father who may have been having an affair
reticent clear patience - the bottom represents
the mother who is very patient with the father

tortoiseshell & underwater bullion are

for the treasure that the fan is
infer - to conclude with evidence, the past is held within the fan,
This Stanza shows the “calm before the storm”
now - Boland does not know what happened next,
so she recreates the scene and may do so by improvisation
Boland ends the Poem with a much brighter and fresher outlook.
From the title I assume that the poem will discuss the relationship between mother and daughter. The word “black” in the title may suggest that the poem will be dark, perhaps a dark place such as the past, it may also symbolize secrets or something mysterious. A fan is a woman’s object, it may symbolize elegance and beauty or even romance.
Literary devices:
: only in the final stanza, the lines end with morning/wing, fruit/it. Rhyming tends to give a happier feel to poems which the final stanza is the happy ending of the poem or the happy beginning in which her mother first opened the first gift that her father had given to her mother, the fan.
: the tone of the poem is the attitude of the speaker, Boland’s tone is factual because she is describing what she knows of her mother and father’s history along with what she sees from holding the fan in her hands.
tortoiseshell & underwater bullion are metaphors for the treasure that the fan is

: The poem “The Black Lace Fan My Mother Gave Me”
by Eavan Boland describes the value of a fan that
Boland’s mother had given her and it’s deeper meaning
of mystery and secrecy in the past.
rain & lightning(line12)
wild roses & reticent clear patient(line13,15,16)
nervous tension
time before the war
more tension
hot temperature
depression, sad,
father &
fan structure
& detail
Personal Example:
Like Boland, I've received beautiful gifts from my mother. Usually these gifts are jewelry but my favorite is a silver
ring with a purple stone that my mom got me a few Christmas' ago.
Unlike the poem, there is not any background behind the ring but
to me it was really special and when I wear it and look at it, it
reminds me of my mom and all that she's done for me. I have
recently lost the ring and from the moment that I realized it was gone,
I was heart broken. That's when I realized how much it meant to me.
How much my mom means to me.
My Mother
It was a quarter to two when she looked up at the clock. She sipped her coffee which smelled of vanilla. She began to fiddle her fingers, then tapped on the glass table lightly with her finger tips. “Where is he?” she wondered as she looked down the Boulevard. My mother was always early and my father, always late. It was 2:15. She ordered another coffee. Time passed but she just patiently waited and her thoughts began to linger. “Why is he always late?” She thought to herself. The thought that he might be gallivanting with another woman troubled her but she knew in her heart that she could trust him. It was 3:00 and he had still not arrived.
My Father
It was a quarter to two when he looked down at his watch. He smiled as the cashier wrapped the fan, “she must be special.”

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