User:Vrooyen/Temp/An Abandoned Bundle analysis.doc

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An Abandoned Bundle

(by Mbuyiseni Oswald Mtshali)

The morning mistand chimney smokeof White City Jabavuflowed thick yellowas pus oozingfrom a gigantic sore.

'White City Jabavu is a part of Soweto, a township lying to the south-west of Johannesburg. The poet then uses a simile to compare the morning mist and chimney smoke to 'pus oozing from a gigantic sore'. The township is compared to a sore, a place that is very unhealthy and horrible to look at. It is heavily polluted, with rubbish heaps everywhere.

It smothered our little houseslike fish caught in a net.

The next stanza consists of only two lines. It starts with the use of personification. It(the smog) smothers the houses. The houses are smothered in the unhealthy mist and smoke. Then a simile follows: The poet says that the houses; and therefore the inhabitants of the houses, are like fish caught in a net. They can't go anywhere. They are forced to live in filthy circumstances, and they have nowhere to go.

Scavenging dogsdraped in red bandanas of bloodfought fiercelyfor a squirming bundle. The third stanza introduces the scene: dogs are fighting for a squirming bundle. The dogs are described as scavenging; they are searching, hunting for food. Then a metaphor is used to describe what the dogs look like. A bandana is like a handkerchief worn around one's neck or head. The dogs in this case look like they are wearing red bandanas, in other words; their heads are covered in blood. The next line contains an example of alliteration. The f-sound is repeated. The f-sound is an explosive sound, enhancing the meaning of the line. They are fighting for something that is still alive: it is squirming.

I threw a brick they bared fangsflicked velvet tongues of scarletand scurried away, scurry leaving a mutilated corpse-an infant dumped on a rubbish heap-'Oh! Baby in the Mangersleep wellon human dung.' The speaker throws a brick, so that the dogs run away. Another metaphor is used to describe the dogs: 'flicked velvet tongues of scarlet'. The colour red is used again, when their tongues are described as scarlet. It could refer to either the real colour of their tongues or the blood on their tongues coming from the bundle. Their tongues look like velvet; which is a soft and smooth material. They leave behind a mutilated corpse of a baby. The baby is now described as a corpse: and is therefore dead.

Parenthesis is a word, clause, or sentence inserted as an explanation or afterthought into a passage which is grammatically complete without it. It is usually marked off by brackets or dashes or commas. In this case the dash separates the line 'an infant dumped on a rubbish heap'. It explains what the corpse is.

Then an exclamation follows: 'Oh!' This is the first indication of what emotions the speaker might experience. It can be an outcry of despair or sadness. The baby is then described as 'Baby in the Manger', which refers to Jesus. The baby is therefore innocent. It died a horrible death, like Jesus did, without committing any sin. The next line introduces a tone of bitterness. It contains a paradox. The speaker tells the baby to sleep well. This is the baby's last resting place, but it is not a soft mattress, but human dung. How can anyone sleep well on human excrement? The fate of the baby is horrifying. It shouldn't have happened.

Its motherhad melted into the rays of the rising sun,her face glittering with innocenceher heart as pure as untrampled dew

The last stanza describes the mother. The word melted is used to indicate that she disappeared. Like snow melts and therefore disappears in the sun she also disappeared. Her face glitters in the sun. When something glitters it is usually beautiful. She is described as innocent. A new day is beginning for the mother. She will continue with her life, while her baby has just died a horrible death.

Mothers who have babies in these particular circumstances often don't have an income or means to look after the babies. Maybe the mother didn't have anywhere to take her baby to and she didn't have money to look after him. So she dumped the baby on the rubbish heap, because she didn’t know what else to do with him. The last stanza reinforces the sense of innocence. A simile is used to compare her heart to 'untrampled dew'. Dew drops that haven't been stepped on make perfect round spheres, and that is how the mother is described: pure and perfect. She can continue with her life as if nothing happened, as if she didn't commit a horrible sin.