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Question: Analyse the poem Close Shave by Charles Mungoshi by considering the situation, who is the speaker, figures of speech, theme and the meaning behind the poem substantiate this by using lines in the poem
Title: Close Shave Author: Charles Mungoshi Poem: One day you will be shaving Mind your steps, father says The edge of the blade is sharp Caution! Fingers can get chopped off. My turn will come: and then Who will cry salt tears for me? Who will roast our sad corn? Who will count the number Of dead yawns? On the morning: the wind rots In my mouth a smell from the grass heart My ears open up to the cracks Of the dawn: a chicken yawns And then life flies after her! Now she laughs and sings House-mouth open wide Feeding us round and quick Like feeding chicks. One day: when my life is blooded-raw I shall wake up and not find You there when I look over the wall My yawns will weep But I shall remember you. And I shall not let the razor slip away. Analysis: Situation: The poem depicts a scenario where a father gives advice to his child to be cautious while shaving. It also reflects the transition of a child from childhood to adulthood and the eventual loss of the parent. Speaker: The speaker is a persona representing a child who is addressing his thoughts and concerns to his father. Figures of speech: 1. Simile: "Feeding us round and quick, Like feeding chicks." This line compares the care given by the speaker’s father to how chicks are fed by their mother. 2. Personification: "a chicken yawns," This line shows the attribution of human characteristics to an animal. Theme: The theme of the poem includes the loss, the passing of time, and the importance of remembering life lessons. Meaning: The poem explores how the father's advice about shaving symbolizes the guidance provided throughout the speaker's life. The sharp edge of the blade represents the potential dangers and challenges that one might face. The father tries to protect his child by instilling caution and wisdom. In the lines "My turn will come: and then, Who will cry salt tears for me?" the speaker expresses concern about the future and the inevitable passing of time, knowing that one day they will have to face life's challenges alone. The lines "On the morning: the wind rots, In my mouth a smell from the grass heart" symbolize the organic, natural cycle of life, and the wind signifies change. The morning represents new beginnings and highlights the inevitability of change and growth. The lines "One day: when my life is blooded-raw, I shall wake up and not find, You there when I look over the wall, My yawns will weep," shows that the speaker acknowledges the eventual loss of their father. The idea of "blooded-raw" reflects both the imagery of shaving, as well as the vulnerability associated with the loss of a loved one. Finally, the line "But I shall remember you, And I shall not let the razor slip away" signifies that, despite the loss, the speaker will hold onto the lessons and memories shared with their father. This serves as motivation and determination to face life's challenges gracefully. In conclusion, Charles Mungoshi's "Close Shave" is a metaphor for growing up and learning from a parent's guidance. The poem emphasizes the importance of cherishing the wisdom and lessons imparted by a parent or loved one while they are still present in our lives.
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