Akhmatova Analysis

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KGV SCHOOL|
Cambridge World Literature Critical Essay|
‘Dedication’ and ‘Epilogue II’ from Requiem by Anna Akhmatova| |
Judy Cai 11U03S|
07/10/2011|

‘Dedication’ and ‘Epilogue II’ are poems reflective of the suffering and changes the Russian people have known under Yezhov terror. ‘Dedication’ focuses on the emotional and psychological impact of the Yezhov terror on human beings, which Akhmatova also feels from a mother’s view. ‘Epilogue II’ is Akhmatova’s response towards all the tragedies she has experienced from a poet’s perspective. ‘Dedication’ possesses an abundance of enjambment, which flows throughout the poem. This combined with a rhyming structure where the first, third and six lines rhyme, designates a lyrical quality to the poem. It is as if Akhmatova is transforming her raw emotions; her suffering, isolation and fear into a tune that can be heard by all. Personification of nature opens the poem through the line “the mountains bow before this anguish.” The choice of the lexis “bow” highlights the passivity of even the strongest powers, emphasising the complete distortion the country has been subjected to by the government’s unparalleled control. The poem progresses to feelings of futility, illustrated with the contrast between the two lines “someone who Still feels the sunset’s glow” and “But we don’t know it”, conveying the Russian peoples’ diminished hope and separation from the ability to feel warmth and happiness. Synaesthesia is engaged in the comparison between the “tramp of boots” and “Keys scraping against our flesh” to depict a tangible pain that comes from the constant apprehension of the people, signifying that, although the people in the lines are not prisoners themselves, they are still tortured by their fear.   The action of the people in lines, “Rising as though for early mass” exposes the irony of the circumstances. Mass is supposedly a righteous and sanctified occasion, while people waiting behind prison lines is...
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