In the poem, Passed On written by Carole Satymurti, the poet illustrates the importance of a box filled with index cards, at the same time, she reminisces about her mother. Through the detailed depiction of the memories that the index cards bring her, a sense of nostalgia is created. Carole presents her memories in a chronological order, such that it portrays events from when her mother was still alive to the poet's final acceptance of her mother's death. However, as the poem progresses, these organized patterns of thoughts, gradually break away from conformity, creating an outburst of freedom felt from her release from pain. At the end of the poem, Carole finally shows acceptance of her mother's death, at the same time reassuring the readers of her growth.
This poem begins with Carole reflecting upon her past where she recollects the times when her mother â€œscribbled with a squirrel concentrationâ€ writing things down on the index cards, reflecting her mother's seriousness towards what she is doing. The sibilance of in the phrase â€œscribble with a squirrelâ€ creates a fast paced rhythm contrasting to the quite nature of the atmosphere created by the â€œsâ€ sound. This also creates a sense of secrecy, hinting that the relationship between mother and daughter is not very close. Her extreme concentration is also shown as nothing seemed to deter her from her desires even as â€œI nag at her.â€
The second stanza is much longer as compared to the other four and reveals to the reader the contents of what is in the box and what is written on the index cards. This stanza creates a sense of closeness between the author and her mother because â€œthe cards looked after [her]â€ and her mother â€œrendered herself down from flesh to paperâ€ to be â€œthere for [her] in every way she could anticipate.â€ However, the specific organization of the card of her thoughts is contrasted with the nonsensical notes in which she jotted down onto the cards:
â€œAcupuncture: conditions suited to
Books to read by age twenty-one
Choux pastry: how to make, when to useâ€
This paradox between the organizations shows the overwhelming outbursts of thoughts as they deem to be uncontrollable and hard to organize. The fragmented sentences on the card also increase the rhythm of the poem, creating a sense of urgency as the mother races against time to jot down every vital piece of information.
Because of her mother's protectiveness, the author becomes overly dependent on them. â€œThe cards looked after [her] and [she'd] shuffle them to almost hear her speak.â€ Carole Satymurti wraps herself around her mother's past and hides in the box of cards as to her â€œthe world was box shapedâ€ and in there, every card had a solution to â€œevery doubt or choiceâ€ she may ever have.
Over time, the author begins to realize that the cards have â€œseemed to shrinkâ€ and the writings on the cards have begun to fade away. This forces the author to break away from the comfortable boxed up world that she hides in. However, no matter how hard she tries, she does not seem to be able to renew the past and to bring back her mother's thoughts, as her thoughts are mere chaos next to her mother's.
â€œinfinitives never telling love
lust single issue politics when
don't hopeless careful trustâ€
The author's notes on the cards are not in complete sentences and are simply a bunch of words that do not have a definitive connection between them. These illogical statements portray the author as a child, unable to make sensible statements. Furthermore, a sense of awkwardness is created between the profound statements and the presentation of the ideas as if Carole's ideas are too overpowering for her to control.
The last stanza of the poem, short and abrupt, portrays the author's final escape from her mother's grasp on Carole's life as she â€œlets her go.â€ Carole builds a â€œhollow cairnâ€ and empties the index cards into it. The word â€œhollowâ€ portrays an empty and silent atmosphere whilst having an ethereal feel to the overall situation. The control her mother has on her slowly begins to fade away as â€œthe smoke rose thin and clear, slowly blurred.â€ However, the author does not completely break off all ties between her and her mother as she has â€œkept the box for diariesâ€, keeping the memory of her mother but at the same time, allowing herself to live a new life free from restrictions. The act of burning the index cards also reflect the author's final acceptance of her mother's death, as if she is cremating her once again, letting the memory of her mother remain by her side but not as an overpowering force controlling her life and thoughts.
The uneven lengths of each stanza in the poem shows a sense of development throughout as it begins with the past, moving to the present and finally ending with the aspiration of a bright new future of uncertainties as portrayed with the â€œblurredâ€ imagery in the end. Subsequently, from this, the author grows to accept her mother's death and slowly moves away from her mother's protective safe environment and embarks on a journey into the unknown.
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