Eavan Boland's What We Lost

Anjali Shastry
English 150
Wednesday 27 November 2013, 5 p.m. section

I plan to discuss the loss of culture and history in What We Lost by Eavan Boland. It is a poem about a countrywoman trying to tell a story to her daughter, but her daughter isn't listening and so that story, and that bit of history and culture, is lost and dies with the daughter who cannot pass it on.

Also, I'll be dealing with the role of women in Irish literature. The countrywoman is resigned to the kitchen as her designated place, and her stories are not the ones told by poets and authors, so she has to pass on her stories through the oral tradition, in the kitchen, to her daughter. But her daughter doesn't listen, and so the woman's view becomes lost throughout time.

Some motifs in the poem: cloths, memories, and candles. I want to talk about what these might mean and why Boland chooses to focus on them the way she does.