Line-by-line Analysis of 'Where I come from' by Elizabeth Brewster
Line-by-line Analysis of 'Where I come from' by Elizabeth Brewster - This is a free verse. The poem does not have any rhyme scheme. In fact, it reads like prose.
1) The poet opens with a very profound statement saying that people and their personalities are made up of features unique to places that they come from.
2-3) She talks about how people display personality traits that are unique to regions that they come from like jungles, mountains, coastal areas, and the tropics. What she means is that a region has a huge influence on the personalities of the natives.
4) The poet begins her description with a setting that she does not feel at home in. she describes the cities and how the residents are quite at ease with the smell of smog due to the pollution. She uses olfactory imagery here.
5) Brewster goes on to hint at a scent that she is familiar with but misses in her urbanized dwelling. She talks about the missing the smell of tulips in springtime.
6) The poet describes the city using vivid visual imagery of the landscape, plotted into restricted areas due to the lack of space.
7) She describes man's need for peace and serenity amidst the fast-paced city life. Brewster talks about synthetic landscape features like fountains that are an essential part of modern architecture in cities. She also uses olfactory imagery to describe the typical scent of museums.
8) The synthetic look and feel of the city is described through her observance of how even art is imprisoned in museums, and people have to go through guidebooks to satiate their artistic pursuits.
9) She describes, with the use of olfactory imagery, the typical smell emitted by offices and factories.
10) She describes, using tactile imagery, the chromium plated offices and the scents that are associated with urban life.
11) She even mentions the typical smell of the subways at rush hours.
12-13) Brewster uses the second stanza like the sestet of a sonnet in which she establishes the true intent behind writing the poem. She discloses the fact that the Canadian woods with acres of pine trees is what she is familiar with and yearns for.
14) She describes the contrast of the blueberries growing against the backdrop the agricultural land burned to increase fertility.
15) Unlike the structures in the city, she describes the country farmhouses as old wooden structures that are in need of paint.
16) She uses kinaesthetic imagery to describe open yards where hens and ducks move around freely.
17-18) While describing the scene and using auditory imagery to hint at the clucking sound made, she also talks about the old and runs down schools that offer an open view of wild violets growing in the countryside.
19-20-21) Brewster highlights her strong feelings and emotions about human identity tied to regions through a metaphor in which she personifies happy and sad memories as spring and winter that dominate the human mind. She talks about how memories of familiar things enable us to get through tough times. The poet reveals where her heart lies. She believes that if you open the door of the (metaphorical) mind you would feel the familiarity of the cold winds blowing across the fields of snow as she does.