Comparing Remember 'And A Mother In A Refugee Night'

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“Better by far you should forget and smile, than that you should remember and be sad". Discuss.

The theme of remembrance is constantly seen in literature works and poetry. Poets depict the importance of memories, and that it is always better to remember than forget. The poems ‘Remember’, ‘Poem at 39’ and ‘A Mother in a Refugee Camp’ give diverse opinions on the significance of memory. In Rossetti's poem ‘Remember’, she is torn apart on whether to remember or not, providing a duo-view on remembrance, where she gives a commanding yet consoling view of remembrance. In ‘Poem at 39’, Walker remembers her father and all the valuable things he taught her. This reveals that Walker believes that it is better to remember as it moulds a person, changes their life and gives you skill and dexterity. Walker disagrees that we should forget-instead we should remember. Achebe’s ‘A Mother in a Refugee Camp’ presents a mother whom has the desire and need to remember her dying child and their past life, suggesting to readers that it is better to remember.

Firstly, the poem ‘Remember’ by Christina Rossetti, is written in the form of a Petrarchan sonnet, with 2 quatrains and 1 sestet, which separates her two contrasting views of remembrance. In the form of a
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Written in free verse, with no breaks or interruptions in the poem, the reader is drawn into the child’s death. Enjambment is used to produce fear and tempo in the poem throughout the poem. The quote “She held a ghost-smile between her teeth/and in her eyes the memory/of a mother’s pride…” shows the mother’s desire to remember her dying child. The mother is faking her smile, to cover her sadness of the harsh truth that her child is dying. The word ‘ghost’ has the obvious connotations to death. The phrase “the memory of a mother’s pride” relates to the memory of happiness they had with

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