Unit 8- Mother in a Refugee Camp (KKHSOU BA-PASS 1ST SEM 2023)
Unit 8- Mother in a Refugee Camp
- Explain the content of the poem in your own words.
Ans: The poem begins with the representation of a mother’s love and sacrifice through the figure of Mother Mary and her son Jesus Christ. The opening lines spell themood of the poem,capturing the pain and suffering of a mother. Here, a mother with a son in tow is but a ghost of her once-happy self when she held her child with hope in her eyes. Now, fate seemed to have shattered that self-image and the vibrant sense of optimism owing to the rage of war. She like many other women was a victim of the war and her story is captured in the poem “A Mother in a Refugee Camp” The description of the refugee camp itself speaks of the sufferings met by the children and the women alike. The atme phere in the camp was gloomy, the air heavy with the odours of diarrhea, of children suffering from malnutrition and of unwashed bodies. You can well imagine the condition of babies and little children with under-nourished bodies, protruded bellies, prominently visible ribs, feeble steps and cries of hunger. The conditions of the refugee camp were so horrifying that mothers ceased to care and surrendered to their fate except this one woman who held on despite the diminished sense of hope. This woman was only a fragment of who she must have been once, trying hard to smile through her loss and suffering. She seemed to cling on to the vestiges of hermemories, the memories of a mother’s pride that she had once cherished. She remembered all the little things that were special to her as a mother. But everything was lost in an instant. All that remained was a bundle of possessions, from which she took out a broken comb to comb her son’s rust-coloured hair. She bathed her child and wiped his body with her bare hands. Perhaps, this takes her back to both their happier days when she did the same things with a mother’s joy. She may have never realised how special these little moments were until they were all lost. With the uncertainty of their future hanging over her, the unfortunate mother does all that there is to do with the dying hope of her little son’s survival.
- Write a few words on the African poet and writer Chinua Achebe.
Ans:Albert Chinuamulogu Achebe better known as Chinua Achebe (1930-3013) was a writer, poet and critic of Nigerian origin. He was born in a religious Christian family to Isaiah Achebe and Janet A. Illoegbunam and had three brothers and two sisters. His village home was situated in the Nigerian forest of Ogidi which is home to one of the major African tribes known as igbo’
- Where did Chinua Achebe pursue his higher studies?
Ans : Chinua Achebe pursued his higher studies at University of Ibadan earning a financial scholarship of merit to study medicine in 1948 but later opted to study English Literature, History and Theology instead.
- Name some of the best known novels by Chinua Achebe.
Ans: Some of the best known novels by Chinua Achebe are Things Fall Apart (1958), No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow
of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of Savannah (1987). His best poetical anthologies include Beware,
Soul Brother and Other Poems (1971), Don’t Let Him Die: An Anthology of Memorial Poems for Christopher Okigbo (1978), Another Africa (1998), and Collected Poems (2005).
- Name the Nigerian poet with whom Achebe shared a close friendship.
Ans: Chinua Achebe shared a close friendship with the Nigerian poet, Christopher Okigbo with whom he had set up the Citadel Press.
- Give a brief description of the refugee camp in Biafra.
Ans: The description of the refugee camp itself speaks of the sufferings met by the children and the women alike. There is a gloomy atmosphere in the camp with the heavy odours of diarrhea, of children suffering from malnutrition and of unwashed bodies. The condition of babies and little children with under-nourished bodies, protruded bellies, prominently visible ribs, feeble steps and cries of hunger is portrayed in the poem.
- What did the mother remember in the time of her suffering?
Ans: The mother remembered all the little things that were special to her as a mother. But everything was lost in an instant.
- What is the context of the present poem?
Ans: The context of the present poem is the Nigerian civil war which had taken place from July 1967 to January 1970 for almost three years costing millions of civil lives.
- Name the volume in which Achebe had recorded the history of the Biafrian war.
Ans: Achebe supported Biafra and recorded the history of the war in his last work titled There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra (2012).
- Who is the central figure in the poem “A Mother in a Refugee Camp”? Explain why.
Ans: The central figure in the poem is that of the mother who represents the sacrifices of motherhood and the extent of suffering as a refugee during wartime.
- What is the image that you find at the end of the poem?
Ans: At the end of the poem we confront the image of ‘a grave’ with tributary flowers and through the use of the closing simile,’ the poet.conveys a mother’s dying hope.
General English Units for BA-KKHSOU