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The poem ‘To be or Not to be Born’ is not about a child but about the mother. Comment.

 Answer: In the poem “To be or Not to be Born”, the baby in the womb is the speaker and the listener is the mother. The speaker is telling her mother whether she should born or should not born. She raises several big questions on poverty and the exploitation. The poem offers a fine combination of the child’s anger and the poet’s sustained support for the cause of change. However, if we analyse whatever the baby says is about the mother. For example, in the starting of the poem, the child asks her mother about the reason behind the “long labour”. It may be a reference to the poor healthcare facilities even for deliveries in the rural areas, especially for the marginalized sections. There is no surety whether the mother and the child would survive. She also talks about the “paths raced horizon wards but to me was barred”. Then the baby talks about the state of society in which her mother’s live as she says: All of you lay, eyes fixed on the sky then shut them, saying calmly, yes, the sky has a prop, a prop! The people have dreams and hopes for a better future but they do not achieve them because there are obstacles on their paths. Then she points out “generation of dire poverty” and “head pillowed on constant need”. The poet here speaks for the community he belongs to. The child then questions the trend, the issue of gender bias, prevalent in the society. Here you are not supposed to say that every human being comes from the union of man and woman. Here, nobody dare broaden the beaten track. The child is satirical about the society. Here nobody has the courage to widen the beaten track. Nobody dares to change the trend. The child is satiric about the acts and the movement of his people as she says “you ran round and round yourself exclaiming YES, of course the earth is round, is round. The child also talks about the clash, struggle and bloodshed. Then she scornfully said I spit on this great civilization Is this land yours, mother, because you were born here? Is it mine because I was born to you? The last four lines are evocative as she says: Sorry, mother, but truth to tell I must confess, I wondered Should I be born Should I be born into this land? A significant rhetoric is used by the poet to make a statement on the social divisions that exist today. It leaves one in no doubt that a shift in paradigm is the need of the hour. For evocation two expressions, “truth to tell” and “confess, I wondered”, turn our attention towards the sense of creative thought. It is rhetorical because the child I aware of the place where his mother lives and knows how the place is driven by problematic structures. This awareness is spread over the whole poem and gives it a rare power and consistency. The other view of a required picture is woven effectively into the poem.

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