Themes in Passed On by Carole Satymurti

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In “Passed On” by Carole Satymurti, the central purpose of this poem is to tell a narrative, as it show's the narrator's reflection of coping with her mother's death, even though the narrator is strongly suggested as a woman. The second stanza in the beginning of line 8, “Only, after opening it, I saw/ how she'd rendered herself down in flesh/to paper...”, suggests that she is reviewing memorabilia that represented her mother from the past, and in line 15: “I'd shuffle them/to almost hear her speak” reminds her of the memories and helps her to relive her experiences with her mother. Overall, the poem reveals her emotions and experiences after her mother's death. This purpose is achieved through the utilization of visual imagery, use of diction, and transitional structure, and by showing a sense/tone of dependency in the second and third stanzas. However in the fourth stanza, a shift of tone suggests that the narrator is ready to live on her own and think independent thoughts. The speaker is speaking to herself, as there are no secondary characters that she is speaking to. Her attitude towards her mother's death has a sense of dependence, as she states in line 15: “The cards looked after me”, which suggests her mother was with her, every step of the way, until she died. Only after that did she realize that her world shaped by her mother (“boxed – shaped”) was a false reality to cope with her day to day life. Towards the end of the poem, she now recognizes and accepts the fact that her mother is dead, and that it is time to move on by burning the cards. As a more mature person without the influence of her mother's world, she is set to create her own reality,. The speaker also appears to be reflective, as the first line states, “... ... middle of paper ... ...uch as “The cards looked after me” in line 15, which shows that her mother was constantly with her every step of the way. Imagery in the poem appealed to the senses by showing the emotions that the narrator had towards her mother, such as in lines 15-16: “I'd shuffle them to almost hear her speak”, where it shows he progression of the narrator's experiences with her mother. Symbolic objects, such as the box and cards, represented her mother's life events and the world she lived in. This shows that the narrator was dependent on her mother. The main focus of attention by the poet was mainly on the feelings the narrator had towards her mother after death, as this was the theme of the poem. The poem was also presented as a chronological progression, to show the order of her thoughts in order to express them effectively, as she moved from dependence to independence.

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