The Dumka Essay

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Bakr Al-Humaimidi
The Dumka Essay

Throughout each varying stage of life come opportunity for experiences, yet also opportunity for reflection. Old age is coupled with a relatively quieter, simpler way of life than that of younger years and it is in that time that one is able to look back upon the memories of the past. B.H Fairchild uses contrast within his poem, the Dumka to compare the memories of long ago to the present. Right within the first line he uses an oxymoron, “His parents would sit alone together.”  Alone together are two contrasting words.  They are antonyms.  He is contrasting the life of his parents within the poem.  There is nothing in the poem that makes you think there is any division between his parents.  They seem comfortable together sitting side by side and you get the feeling even though they are not talking their memories are the same.  The author contrasts the horrible dustorm of the depression to when it lifted and suddenly the land was once again beautiful and productive. He speaks of the memory of dust and their memories are wrapped up in the dust of long ago.  The war and the homecoming is another contrast.  The two are different in many ways; the war is depressing, frightening and sad. Homecoming is completely different; homecomings are exciting, joyful, and full of laughter. He uses a simile in the sentence, “And they would sit there alone and soon he would reach across and lift her hand as if it were the last unbroken leaf.”  The poem ends where it started with them alone together. The war brought the parents discomfort and separated them but once the unhappy times of the thirties had finally come to an end, they at last, noticed “the new season” ahead of them and came together.
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