"Bringing the Dolls" and "Old Crystals" Analysis

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Holding on and Letting Go

Letting go is very difficult for everyone. Especially if you have to let go of something or someone who has been a very big part of your life. In the poems “Bringing the Dolls” and “Old Crystals”, Merle Alunan, used symbolism and imagery to concretize the difficulties of letting go.

In “Bringing the Dolls”, the lines: “Each tight luggage I had packed only for the barest need.” shows us that the persona is someone who is going to leave. Lines 11-14, “Each child must learn she cannot take what must be left behind.”, is just one of the many statements that make us infer that the persona is a mother who is leaving together with her child. This gives us an immediate connection to the whole point of the poem, which is letting go.

The whole poem is about the ragged dolls that the mother forbids her daughter to bring with them. We can see this in lines 4-5, “I grabbed them from her arms, “No,” I said, “They cannot come.”” Yet, the daughter still chose to disobey her mother and brought the dolls with her. We can clearly see that the daughter already has a difficulty in letting go or parting ways with her dolls. This might also describe how the mother feels in letting go of something or someone whom they left behind, which is probably the father.

The mother saw how much her daughter valued the dolls despite of their physical appearance. This made her realize that she was no different. We can clearly see this in: “She knew her burdens as I knew mine.”

“Old Crystals” is another poem by Merle Alunan. The persona here is someone who knows the woman being described in the poem. We may infer that she is a daughter because of these lines: “Then, as when in our childhood, her name performs the cleansing magic.” This says that the persona knew that woman from childhood. She also knew the woman’s difficulty of letting go of her crystals and how she kept them with her life as stated in lines 1-8: “While she lived, she had shrined them...
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