nThe Interrogation – Edwin Muir
Edwin Muir’s poem, ‘The Interrogation’ is about emigrants who are attempting to cross a border illicitly, even though they aren’t lawfully permitted to do so. The interrogation taking place is actually the intense questioning to the emigrants by the law enforcers at the border. The poem sheds light on the idea that there are different ways people deal with situations they are in; also, at the deepest level, Muir presents the dichotomy of whether morality would be following judicial order of the state, or pouring out sympathy for the underprivileged.
We can confirm the situation in the poem as diction reference to the “patrol” connotes the presence of the authoritative law enforcers at the border. The central opposition of the poem is courage and fear. To determine whether they cross the border or not depends on the ‘interrogation’ they face. In order to pass, they would have to adopt confidence opposed to cowardice. However, in this poem Muir shows emigrants reacting irrationally as they “hesitated” in their approach to cross the border. This hesitance caused their subsequent ‘interrogation’.
The language used in this poem, inclusive of figurative language and choice of diction, all convey Muir’s intention to recreate the tense atmosphere at a patrolling area when in trouble. He presents the tension from the emigrants’ point of view. The characters’ perception of the language would contribute to their demise after crossing the border, nevertheless, the readers would hint at sympathy towards this. In line 3, Muir uses complex diction to describe the “leader” of the patrol crew (“conscientious and intent”). This has connotations of the patrol leader’s judicial honesty and, in the view of the emigrants. They understand their mistakes and the consequence to their actions of illegally trying to cross the border. Their understanding of their mistake makes us sympathize with the emigrants, as the diction provided a steady...
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