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Word Count: 1,661
Compressed emotions that is the explanation a teacher once gave to the ongoing question What is poetry He said it was someones deepest emotions as if you were reading them right out of that persons 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 Erdrichs poem Indian Boarding School puts the emotions of a person or group of people in a setting around a railroad track The feelings experienced are compared to things from the setting which takes on human characteristics Louise Erdrich was born part German part American Indian Since the title and other references in the poem refer to Indian people it is most likely that this poem was very personal to her The boarding school may have been a real place she went to or where mistreatment of her people was not uncommon or it could simply be a tool she used to express racism towards them in general With that fact the reader must remember 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 Homes 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 loveline 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
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