Title:

  • Seems medical, factual – the use of brackets and a colon seem unusual.
  • Written in third person – suggests that it may be a narrative.
  • Head Injury – implies some type of pain – could be physical or mental.

A woman looks at a photograph of herself remembering her former life before she lost her memory in a head injury. Her life before the accident seems very different, she feels like another person now. There is a sense of sadness at her loss.

Form and structure:

It’s a dramatic monologue, however it is broken and disjointed through the use of enjambment and mixed pronouns, swapping from ‘she’ (as her past self) and ‘I’ (for her present self). Caesuras also add to the disorienting effect.

Contrasts:

The stark contrast between her past and present emphasises the separation of her two selves. Before she was ‘Like a Degas dancer’, now she is ‘Enmeshed in comforting/Fat’. ‘A bright girl she was’ she was ‘proud of her former self’

Language of injury:

‘Head injury’  ‘damaged brain’  ‘Her face, broken’

Language of loss:

‘I wonder’  ‘What I have forgotten’  ‘grieves for it’  ‘Mourning’  ‘I, who need reminding’  ‘I do not remember’  ‘forget her reasons’

Feelings and Attitudes:

Loss

Confusion

Grief

Regret

Anger

Find examples and explain how the poet has conveyed these feelings in the poem.

Notes taken by Chandni.

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