In the Midst of Hardship – Latiff Mohidin

images

albino buffalo

 

In the Midst of Hardship by Latiff Mohidin

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 amidst hardship

and grew up without a sigh or a complaint

now they are in the kitchen, making

jokes while rolling their ciggarete leaves

SYNOPSIS

This poem is about a family who faces  hardship whereby their son’s albino buffalo is nowhere to be found. A flood occurs and they go out to find the buffalo. They reach home early in the morning without the buffalo and yet there is no  sign of despair in them. Meanwhile, they can still crack jokes and roll the cigarettes.

Figurative meaning by stanza

STANZA 1

They returned home at day break and headed for the stove. This is probably because they were hungry. However, I have also received some feedbacks saying that they went straight to the stove to dry themselves as they were drenched with the flood water. 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. We know that the animals were already dead because of the phrase ‘bloated carcasses’. 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. This shows that they face difficulties all the time and this time there is no different. They have inner strength that makes them strong to face any hardship poses to them.

SETTING

The setting of the poem is in the house.

THEMES

Being resilience when facing hardship

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 problem.
  3. Facing hardship is part and parcel of life.
  4. If we face a problem, do not feel despair.

TONE, MOOD, ATMOSPHERE

  • Understanding and sympathetic
  • 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

Execise

32. a. Which phrase in stanza 1 shows that the people are injured? (1 mark)

b. Give the meaning of the following words:

(i) ‘soaky’ (1 mark)

(ii) ‘limbs’ (1 mark)

(c) Do you admire the actions of the people? Give a reason for your answer. (2 marks)

32 a.When did the family go back home?

b.Why do you think some family members approached the stove?

c. The word ‘horrendous’ means …………………………………………………………………….

d. In your opinion, how should people react to difficult times?  (2 marks)

32 a. Which lines indicate the suffering that the people endure while out in the rain?

b. How long did the heavy downpour occur??

c. The word ‘horrendous’ means ……………………………………………………………………

d. In your opinion, why did the boy love the albino buffalo so much? (2 marks)

Exercise  1 (phrases)

Quotation from the poem – Which line means

1. not feeling gloomy?                                             …………………………………………………………………

2. their clothes were drenched and torn?                …………………………………………………………………

3. their hands and legs had cuts all over?               …………………………………………………………………

4. had to put up with the dreadful flood?                 …………………………………………………………………

5. born in suffering?                                                …………………………………………………………………

6. accepted their life without complaining?              …………………………………………………………………

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