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    “Bringing the Dolls” and “Old Crystals” Analysis Essay

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    Holding on and Letting Go Letting go is very difficult for everyone. Especially if you have to let go of something or someone who has been a very big part of your life. In the poems “Bringing the Dolls” and “Old Crystals”, Merle Alunan, used symbolism and imagery to concretize the difficulties of letting go. In “Bringing the Dolls”, the lines: “Each tight luggage I had packed only for the barest need. ” shows us that the persona is someone who is going to leave. Lines 11-14, “Each child must learn she cannot take what must be left behind. , is just one of the many statements that make us infer that the persona is a mother who is leaving together with her child. This gives us an immediate connection to the whole point of the poem, which is letting go. The whole poem is about the ragged dolls that the mother forbids her daughter to bring with them. We can see this in lines 4-5, “I grabbed them from her arms, “No,” I said, “They cannot come. ”” Yet, the daughter still chose to disobey her mother and brought the dolls with her. We can clearly see that the daughter already has a difficulty in letting go or parting ways with her dolls.

    This might also describe how the mother feels in letting go of something or someone whom they left behind, which is probably the father. The mother saw how much her daughter valued the dolls despite of their physical appearance. This made her realize that she was no different. We can clearly see this in: “She knew her burdens as I knew mine. ” “Old Crystals” is another poem by Merle Alunan. The persona here is someone who knows the woman being described in the poem. We may infer that she is a daughter because of these lines: “Then, as when in our childhood, her name performs the cleansing magic. This says that the persona knew that woman from childhood. She also knew the woman’s difficulty of letting go of her crystals and how she kept them with her life as stated in lines 1-8: “While she lived, she had shrined them safe from our coveting – until the day the cold in her blood ran her course straight. ” This line shows how she “shrined” the crystals and kept them away from other people. “Old Crystals” is a poem about an old woman who treasured her crystals very much that she had kept them until death.

    And even until her death, the thought of her still seemed to haunt the people who took her crystals as stated in “To undo our fears… her face hovers. ” The persona in the poem saw how the woman valued her crystals so much. She kept them and never let anyone touch them as again, stated in lines 1-3: “While she lived, she had shrined them safe from our coveting. ” We can also see the woman’s unwillingness of letting go of her crystals in the way she kept it as described in “The keys hung on a grimed string she wore next to her skin, the undertakers washing her body could not pry off the knots with their fingers. This shows how attached she is to her crystals. Both of these poems convey the feelings of letting go. And the author chose to show this through the use of symbolism and imagery. Imagery is a common element of these two poems. In “Bringing the Dolls,” the second stanza of the poem concretely shows the signs of leaving. How the mother packed, “Each tight luggage I had packed only for the barest need. ” And how she even treated “sentiment and memory” as excess luggage. How she wanted her child to do the same, “She cannot take what must be left behind. In the third stanza, we can also see imagery and how it was used to describe letting go. “A smart wind blowing dry the stealthy tears I could not wipe” describes how the mother is feeling at that moment. She was so sad that she broke down, yet, she has to be strong for her and her child. Symbolism can also be found in “Bringing the Dolls”. First, the most obvious symbol, would be the dolls. The dolls symbolize the relationship of their family. As described in the first stanza, “Two dolls in rags and tatters, one missing an arm and a leg, the other blind in one eye. The author used this to describe the family in the poem. And we can easily see that it is a broken family for the mother and daughter were leaving home and probably the father. How their relationship lost “an arm and a leg” and how they became blind. Another symbolism would be in the third stanza, which is the boat. “And so the boat turned seaward. ” The boat symbolizes the mother and how she chose to leave. We all know, that once a boat has left there is almost no probability for it to return except for emergencies or when the trip is done. The same thing applies with the mother.

    We can see that there is no turning back now. And that she has to continue the journey that she chose. “Old Crystals” also used imagery as an element. The images show how the woman really valued and protected her crystals from others. Again, in the first part of the poem, it says there that “She had shrined them safe from our coveting. ” She does not want anyone to touch the crystals. “To the grave, the loot of had stayed locked up, the keys hung… with their fingers. ” This shows how until death, she still wanted her crystals to be with her.

    The people even had a hard time in getting the keys from her even though she is dead already. Some other images showed how they were haunted by the thought of this woman. “To undo our fears… with our guilt” shows that the people who got the crystals are even guilty of what they did. They knew how much the woman kept them and getting those crystals gave them a lot of worries and fear. Symbolism is also obvious in “Old Crystals”. The Crystals here symbolizes something that is important for someone. For example, in the case of the mother and the daughter in the first poem, their relationship as a family is what they value. Old Crystals” show how we attach ourselves to these things that even through death we may not be able to let go of it. The last line of the poem “Not greed but wisdom receives your gift” says that we should not attach ourselves to earthly things. This is what the persona is saying. That he has learned through the old woman the value of letting go and not being dependent on anything. In our society as Filipinos, we are used to being close to everyone we love. We are known for having close family ties and staying with our family our whole lives, unlike other races in which they part from their parents once they are at legal age.

    This is how the sense of being Filipino is evident in both of these poems. Because this is our upbringing, it will be very difficult for us to let go. We are so attached to one another especially to our loved ones that losing them would be very hard. Still, we should learn how to let go but still contain our values as Filipinos and as human beings. Yes, no man is an island as they say, but sometimes, you may have to learn things yourself. This is what we should get from both poems. We should learn how to travel our own journey through holding on, and letting go.

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