Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MONSOON HISTORY by SHIRLEY LIM



Introduction:


The poem takes the reader through the monsoon period. Life in Malacca is described, and the time is about forty years ago when the Baba-Nyonya family traditions were closely observed. The traditional family atmosphere is full of warmth and security. The poem ends with a sense of peace and tranquility, and a suggestion of happy ending.


First Stanza

- The air is filled of moisture. It is about to rain.

- The wetness of the air supports all forms of life, including destructive pests.


Second Stanza

- It is divided into two parts-the shift from the garden to the place inside the home i.e. from outside to inside.


Part One

- It is about to rain.

- The cloud are rolling in and darkness is setting in-rain is coming.


Part Two

- It is now an indoor scene - Inside the house

- The home is safe, secure environment - sitting at home and drinking Milo

- Clear reference to the Baba-Nyonya customs and tradition - wearing sarong, counting silver paper for the dead, portraits of grandfather in the parlour.


Third Stanza

- The western and eastern influences are shown to be in harmony

- Reading poetry by Tennyson shoes western education (in contrast with the eastern tradition and upbringing - stanza 2)

- The presence of insects is in harmony with the environment

- Wearing pajamas and getting ready for bed

- Washing their feet before going to bed – traditional influence

- The time is six p.m. and it is raining outside

- The mother removes her traditional Nyonya clothing and uncoils her traditional knot of hair.

- The father is still outside at the beach, waiting for his fishermen to return from the sea


Fourth Stanza

- The monsoon is over – everything is calm

- There is peace and tranquility once again


Symbolic Meaning:

Life can be peaceful and secure if we have good family relationship, follow traditional and customs even if there are problems and hardships.


Tone/Mood:

1) Reflective (nostalgic about her past, i.e. her traditional and customs)
2) Regret (referring to the time – time forty years ago, and also the diminishing childhood, traditional and customs)


Theme/Message
:

Where you are in the world, you just cannot forget your roots,

Childhood memories and your tradition.

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