Saturday, May 17, 2008

There's been a death in the opposite house

Just by reading the title above, it evokes various emotions, right? Well, it is actually a title of a poem for the upper secondary students in Malaysia. I bet many students dislike this poem (me too). Mind you, it took me a disastrous month to comprehend only the first stanza for my SPM!I'm now working on a thesis that discards this poem to ever being taught in schools. I've received many feedbacks (agreeing with me) as to replace this poem with other better ones.

Emily Dickinson, as you are already informed, is a good poet who always expresses death in various ways through her poems. For Malaysians (and also other citizenships), death is something sensitive and very closely related to religions. To even start a class with 'death' as the subject is not a simple thing, believe me. I should thank my teacher to courageously finish teaching my friends and I this poem while there were some of us who were talking, eating, and even sleeping right in front of her desk! Some of my friends had faced death related with their beloved parents or siblings or closest friends.

In Malaysia, death is a very taboo subject to even talk about among us. Besides, having literature as only a minor subject in English, this poem is absolutely not appropriate and should be abolished. Therefore, another better poem with positive tones and emotions, should replace this poem.

What do you reckon? Should it be replaced? And if your answer is a 'Yes', what poem is to be taken as the replacement?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

its essential to have vigorous basic knowledge on english literature to make one comprehend the underlying meaning beneath each poem. Dickinson was infamous for her poem as the seclusion in her adulthood influences her writing and her poems have brilliantly reflect on them. its not merely the matter of whether her theme is a taboo subject in any particular society, but to acknowledge the student's ability to comply with its meaning is what matter the most. there's no point if MoE is to change the poem into something more abstract i.e: those poems from Keats and Shakespeare, if the students themselves learn the subject for the sake of gaining good academic credentials. what makes a poem at its best and who determines on that are just another different points to be pondered on altogether. good luck with your thesis writing. Adieu.