Indian Boarding School

Compressed emotions," that is the explanation a teacher once gave to the ongoing question, "What is poetry?" He said it was someone's deepest emotions, as if you were reading them right out of that person's mind, which in that case would not consist of any words at all. If someone tells you a story, it is usually like a shell. Rarely are all of the deepest and most personal emotions revealed effectively. A poem of that story would be like the inside of the shell. It personifies situations, and symbolizes and compares emotions with other things in life. Louise Erdrich's poem puts the emotions of a person or group of people in a setting around a railroad track. The feelings experienced are ...

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that although the words are from the runaways' point of view, there are not necessarily any real runaways.
From the point of view at which this is told, the runaways are eager to find their way home. They do not necessarily really try to runaway, it may just be in their fantasies, "Home's the place we head for in our sleep." (line 1). The first use of personification is in the line, "The rails, old lacerations that we love,"(line 4). It is not yet quite clear why Erdrich would compare the train tracks with old lacerations until the lines, "shoot parallel across the face and break just under the Turtle Mountains." (lines 5-6). Mountains are definite things that are physical in nature. Train tracks on a face are hard to imagine, so it leads us to believe it has some deeper meaning. This reveals that the children want to run away from the boarding school for more serious matters than just good old home-sickness. The "old lacerations" may represent wounds on their own faces, internal ...

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cracks in boards as the land starts rolling, rolling till it hurts to be here, cold in regulation clothes," (lines 9-11). They are imagining to be in boxcars, peaking at the outside as they grow farther away from the school. The land rolling hurts them because the lacerations must follow that rolling pattern too. They may be "cold in regulation clothes" because being in the boxcars is only a fantasy; they are still restricted to the school. The clothes could simply be another representaton of the "cold" school, which probably requires a uniform or dress code. In the second sense, giving the land human, Indian characteristics, if it were dressed in regulation clothes they would make it ...

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Indian Boarding School. (2003, December 20). Retrieved April 4, 2020, from
"Indian Boarding School.", 20 Dec. 2003. Web. 4 Apr. 2020. <>
"Indian Boarding School." December 20, 2003. Accessed April 4, 2020.
"Indian Boarding School." December 20, 2003. Accessed April 4, 2020.
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Added: 12/20/2003 07:25:14 AM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1597
Pages: 6

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