Explication of 'Leningrad Cemetery, Winter of 1941'
This poem is about the World War Ⅱ especially in Leningard(1941.09.08~1944.01.18) in winter of 1941. Leningrad which is now St. Petersburg is once former capital of Russia and Russian Revolution so it was strategically important place for Hitler to have war with. German army siege this city almost 900 days and over 650,000 people are dead from this war because of starvation, exposure, disease and so on. However, Leningrad did not surrender against the enemy and bear all hardships and difficulties, later called 'city of hero'. How extremely difficult and severe situation it was in World war Ⅱ is depicted in this poem. There are a lot of dead bodies needed to be buried but impossible because ground is frozen and grave digger became weak from hunger. Also coffin could not be made because there was lack of fuel to heat and wood should be used for fuel. Instead of coffin they put the corpse on the child's sled and take it to the cemetery. Child sled is the symbol of joy and happiness in winter snow but in the war time that kind of joy is disappeared but only degenerated to tool of moving the dead body. There are some analogies with the dead. First they are metaphored as ‘tree's ball of roots when it waits to be planted' and cocoons that will split down the center when the new life inside is prepared'. Those are very similar to appearance of the dead and characteristics such as stiffness however it also contains the meaning of life and prosperity. In contrast, the expression of 'pale gauze, tapered shapes' make us think of mummies. Writer tried to mummify and dehumanize the dead. Furthermore, 'naked calves hard as corded wood spilling' means piled corpses like stiff, dry wood with no life. Contrast in the metaphors tells us that the dead once having had vibrant life and had desire to restore vitality inevitably became very cold, rigid, abandoned dead body. 'From under a cloak, a hand reaching out' means that they...
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