IGNOU BEGE-143 SOLVED ASSIGNMENT 2023-24

4. Critically Analyze the Poem ‘Bequest’:

“Bequest” is a thought-provoking poem by Indian poet Kamala Das, known for her candid exploration of personal and societal issues. In this poem, Kamala Das reflects on the concept of legacy, both in terms of material possessions and emotional connections, as she contemplates what she will leave behind for her loved ones.

The poem begins with the speaker acknowledging her impending death and expressing her desire to leave behind something meaningful for her dear ones. The title itself, “Bequest,” suggests the act of passing on something valuable, whether tangible or intangible. The poem then transitions into a reflection on various potential bequests, from possessions like jewelry and land to emotional legacies like memories and love.

Kamala Das uses evocative imagery to describe the material wealth she could leave behind. She mentions her “gold ornaments” and “land,” signifying worldly possessions that are often seen as symbols of affluence and status. However, the speaker’s tone is detached, almost dismissive, implying a sense of disillusionment with materialism. The phrase “mere possessions, nothing” suggests that she sees these things as transient and ultimately inconsequential in the face of mortality.

The poem then shifts to a more introspective exploration of emotional bequests. The speaker contemplates the idea of leaving behind memories of her laughter, tears, and moments of intimacy. This part of the poem reflects Kamala Das’s recurring themes of human vulnerability and the search for genuine emotional connections. The repetition of “deep/lasting” emphasizes the desire for a legacy that is profound and enduring, transcending the fleeting nature of material possessions.

The final stanza brings a significant shift in tone. The speaker acknowledges that all her contemplations might be in vain, as death might erase all traces of her existence. This realization introduces an existential undertone to the poem, as the speaker grapples with the impermanence of life. The phrase “the lights in my house will burn no more” metaphorically alludes to the extinguishing of her life.

“Bequest” can be seen as a meditation on the ephemeral nature of life and the human desire for legacy. Kamala Das presents a critical stance toward materialism, suggesting that true value lies in emotional connections rather than material possessions. The poem also underscores the inevitability of mortality, prompting readers to reflect on the legacy they wish to leave behind. Ultimately, “Bequest” invites readers to question the meaning of life and the ways in which they can make a lasting impact on the world beyond their physical existence.

In conclusion, “Bequest” is a poignant and contemplative poem that delves into the themes of legacy, materialism, and mortality. Through evocative imagery and introspective reflections, Kamala Das prompts readers to reconsider the value of possessions and the enduring impact of emotional connections. The poem’s somber tone and existential musings make it a compelling exploration of the complexities of human existence.

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  1. 2019

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