Saturday, September 24, 2011

In the midst of Hardship


(google image)


IN THE MIDST OF HARDSHIP

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 not a 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 admist hardship
and grew up without a sigh or a complaint
now they are in the kitchen, making
jokes while rolling their cigarette leaves

-Latiff Mohidin


Paraphrase:



The villagers returned home early in the morning. Their clothes were torn and wet as they walked into their kitchen. Their arms and legs had cuts all over but they were not depressed.

They had spent one whole day and night searching for their son's albino buffalo, wading through the floodwaters, surrounded by broken twigs, pieces of tree barks and animal carcasses. However, they did not find the buffalo.

The villagers had been born into a life of hardships but they never grumbled. Even after all they had been through, they could still crack jokes and relax in the kitchen.
(http://spmenglish1119.blogspot.com/2011/03/in-midst-of-hardship.html)



Synopsis

This poem tells of the hardship that a family in a village faces after a big flood. The elders return at dawn in soaking-wet clothes. They go straight to the kitchen. They are probably hungry. Their hands and legs are bruised but they do not show any sign of despair or of losing hope.
After braving the dreadful flood for the last 24 hours, they still can not find their son’s albino buffalo. Despite all the adversities and suffering, the people in the poem do not complain or lament on their misfortunes. They spend time together, enjoying each other’s company. They are grateful for the fact what they still have instead of what is lost. Life goes on with their daily chores of preparing food and habit of rolling their cigarette leaves. They are still able to joke with one another.

(http://julia2001.blogspot.com/2010/01/in-midst-of-hardship-synopsis.html)


(POETIC DEVICES)

SYNOPSIS ( ACCORDING TO STANZA)

STANZA 1

They returned home at dawn and headed for the stove. Their clothes were soaking wet and tattered. Their bodies were covered with scratches and wounds. Yet, they did not display any signs of being worried.

STANZA 2

They were out in the flood the whole day and night. They were surrounded by dead animals and parts of trees that had been destroyed by the flood. They searched desperately for their son’s albino buffalo but were unable to find it.

STANZA 3

They were born into poverty and difficulty, but they do not complain about their suffer. Instead, they sit in the kitchen, cracking jokes while smoking cigarettes.

SETTING

The setting of the poem is in the house.

THEMES

* Stoicism in life
* Family love
* Acceptance of way of life

MORAL VALUES

1. We should learn to accept problems in life with a positive outlook.
2. We must attempt to face and solve problems.
3. Failure is part of growing up.
4. Do not despair in the face of failure.

TONE, MOOD, ATMOSPHERE

* Understanding and sympathetic
* Dismal
* Acceptance of situation

POINT OF VIEW

* Third person pint of view.

LANGUAGE & STYLE

* Language is simple and easy to understand.
* The style is simple with no rhyming scheme.

POETIC DEVICES

* Imagery – Gives picture of poet’s thoughts e.g ‘soaky clothes torn’ and ‘legs full of wounds’
* Alliteration – e.g. ‘but on their brows’
* Symbols – e.g. ‘horrendous flood’ and ‘bloating carcasses’
* Diction – e.g. ‘stove’ and ‘brows‘

(http://thelitpath.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/lesson-1-poetic-devices/)



SETTING

The setting of the poem is in the house and a flooded village.

THEMES

The theme is not the hardship itself but how the family handles it. The lines ‘but on their brows’- ‘there was not a sign of despair’ show their optimism. They returned home at dawn in soaking-wet clothes that is all torn-up and with bruises and cuts all over but, their face did not show any sign of hopelessness and despair that would normally be expected. These two lines further accentuate the point on optimism of this family.

Another major theme is love in the family. Love binds them together. This is shown when they searched desperately for their son’s albino buffalo.







Moral Values

We should learn to accept problems in life with a positive outlook. It means that although we are facing problems, we should not complain but instead we must attempt to face it courageously and solve whatever problems in hand. Failure is part of growing up. We should not despair in the face of failure.

Point of View

* Third person point of view.

Language, Style and Literary Devices

Language is simple and easy to understand. The style is simple with no rhyming scheme. There are no full-stops in the poem. This is shows that there is no end for hardship.

Imagery – Gives picture of poet’s thoughts

* soaky clothes torn
* limbs marked by scratches
* legs full of wounds
* bloated carcasses
* tiny chips of tree barks
* rolling cigarette leaves

Symbols

* albino buffalo – symbol of something that should treasured
* horrendous flood – symbol of terrible trials
* stove – symbol of warmth and sustenance
* bloated carcasses – symbol of death and decay

Discussion

This poem tells of the hardship that a family in a village faces after a big flood. It takes a lot of courage and strength to see the silver lining and to move on after that. Yet, that is exactly what this family is doing. They’re spending time together, enjoying each other’s company and they are actually grateful for what they still have instead of what was lost. As we can read in the poem – they returned home without finding the buffalo but they did not seem to be really bothered by it. They accept fate as it is but more importantly, it portrays how they are different from many people who are materialistic. Although the Albino buffalo is a rare species of the buffalo family, the family in the poem is not very worried that their precious buffalo is missing. This poem wants to convey the hardship that they endured and even though they saw many dead animals floating because of the flood, they were still searching for the buffalo. It is important to know that they did not complain and did not lose hope as they were used to difficult life. They refuse to let it ruin their day and their spirit. The main concern is that they did try to find it as the buffalo belongs to their son. This shows that they were looking for it as they were concerned for their son’s lost.

(http://leelachakrabarty.wordpress.com/2011/05/22/in-the-midst-of-hardship/)


Exercise for Poem In the Midst of Hardship


Exercise 1

Write TRUE or FALSE for each statement below. If the statement is false, write the correct statement in the space provided.

1.The family just experienced a bad flood
True
False

2.The family lived in city
True
False

3.The flood lasted for one day and night
True
False

4.Animals and humans were drowned in the flood
True
False

5.The flood victims’ hands and legs were covered by cuts all over
True
False

6.They returned home in the afternoon after the flood
True
False

7.Once the family was back home, they felt relieved
True
False

8.They would rather enjoy themselves than complaint about the flood
True
False

Choose TRUE or FALSE for each of the statement below.
1.When did the family go back home?

(A) Late at night
(B) In the afternoon
(C) In the evening
(D) Early morning

2.Why do you think some family members approached the stove?
(A) To wash up
(B) To cook a meal
(C) To eat together
(D) To keep their food

3.What was not seen on their brows?
(A) A sad look
(B) A happy look
(C) An expression of hopelessness
(D) An expression of disgust

4.The word ‘horrendous’ means
(A) Exciting
(B) Enjoyable
(C) Tragic
(D) Awful

5.If you have to `brave` a danger, you have to
(A) Give up quickly
(B) Run away from it
(C) Protect yourself from it
(D) Endure it with resilience

6.If an animal is an albino, it is_____in complexion.
(A) White
(B) Grey
(C) Black
(D) Cream

7.Why did the tiny chips float in the floodwater?
(A) They were light
(B) The trees were uprooted
(C) The water caused the chips to break off from the tree barks
(D) The trees were cut donw by the villagers

8.What type of life is a life of hardship?
(A) A happy life
(B) An easy life
(C) A life of suffering
(D) A life of torture

Rewrite the quotations from the poem in your own words.
Quotation from the poem In your own words

1.Not a sign of despair

2.Their soaky clothes torn

3.Their limbs marked by scratches

4.Had to brave the horrendous flood

5.Born amidst hardship

6.Grew up without a sigh


Exercise 4

Read the following passage. Fill in the blanks with one suitable word or phrase.

The flood victims are glad to go back home. They have gone through a time. The floodwater very high. They were wading among and chips of the barks. It was an sight. As their son had lost his buffalo, they were looking for it. However, they to find it. Back home, the women started cooking. The men stood in the talking. They were also rolling . This was a time to feel and complain about their .

(http://izzatibstl8a.herobo.com/exercise1-1.html) + (answers)



More Exercises

1.
In stanza 1, 'soaky clothes' are caused by
1. ? the heavy downpour
2. ? water shortage
3. ? falling into the river
4. ? sweating profusely
2.
Why did they approach the stove?
1. ? To dry themselves up
2. ? To change their stove
3. ? To boil water
4. ? To cook breakfast
3.
Which phrase in Stanza 3 indicates the jovial feelings of the family despite what they have gone through?
1. ? There was not a sign of despair
2. ? They were born admist hardship
3. ? Their limbs marked by scratches
4. ? Making jokes while rolling their cigarette leaves
4.
Who were desperately looking for their son's albino buffalo?
1. ? The father and the mother
2. ? The head villager
3. ? The albino buffalo's family
4. ? The villagers
5.
When did the family reach their home?
1. ? In the evening
2. ? At midnight
3. ? Early morning
4. ? In the afternoon

(http://www.maele.net/english/sivakami/)

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