The excerpt I am working on comes from the poem by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Eliza Harris. She is an African-American writer of nineteenth century. She was active in social reforms, especially in abolitionist movement. This poem is about women who are fighting for freedom not only for them but for their children, their future. It shows us the strong power of mothers love to her child and what women had to experience years ago to give their children a chance to be free in spite of the skin color. The following excerpt is full of meaningful words and original word structures that help us to understand and imagine what the author wants to tell us better:
Like a fawn from the arrow, startled and wild,
A woman swept by us bearing a child;
In her eye was the night of a settled despair,
And her brow was oershaded with anguish and care.
To begin with, the first phrase Like a fawn form the arrow the author refers to the enslaved women who was swept by us, by people. The words startled and wild that are used with a fawn compare a fawn to a women and reflect her mood and condition. The following phrase bearing a child empathizes on the fact that she is a mother. I y=these two lines the author tells us a tragic story of a mother with her child. The woman is compared to fawn who is startled and wild from the arrow that killed him. These to adjectives help us to understand her feelings and emotion and a fact that she is a mother make them even stronger.
The next line awakes our imaginations. Harper uses metaphors to describe the feelings of the women. She says that one can notice a night of a settled despair in her eyes. We try to imagine her look and see her emotions reflected in her eyes. In this context despair brings the meaning of hopelessness for better times, she seems ready to give up and has no chance and no hope. This despair is settled which means it has been following her for a long time to become chronic and changeless.
The following phrase develops that feeling, makes it stronger and deeper. The author tries to express the emotions through the face of the woman, her appearance. It is a silent struggle of a slave. In the words brow was oershaded by anguish and care we can see how difficult it is for her to accept this unfairness and the fate. She cares about her small child, which is so understandable for a mother. The woman is concerned about the future of the child, wants a better life for him. This line reflects emotions using visual sensations. We imagine how the woman looks like, the tensions on her face and this helps us to understand what she feels.
The author uses comparative constructions as well as metaphors to help the reader to feel the story from the inside, the author uses abstract language that causes associations of a true struggle and hopelessness.
Oxford English Dictionary. London: Oxford University Press, 2008. Web.
The Northon Anthology of American Literature. New York : W.W. Norton & Company, shorter 8th edition. 2013
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