Describe the havoc caused in "A River" by Ramanujan.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The havoc in Ramanujan's poem exists on two levels.  The first is the actual damage caused by the river when it rises.  The floods caused is where the havoc lies.  This calamity comes in the form of the bathing spots being overrun, as well as the livestock, such as the two cows, carried off.  The most poignant and most intense image of this destruction lies in the pregnant woman that was carried off by the flood.  This image is intense in how Ramunajan depicts it:

...the pregnant woman
drowned, with perhaps twins in her,
kicking at blank walls
even before birth.

This image of the woman dying, and the children inside her struggling against an unforeseen adversary represents the destructive power in the river.  Yet, I think that another level of havoc exists.  The fact that these narratives are not discussed, as "old and new poets" simply recite the standard telling of the river and fail to integrate and discuss anything else, such as the pregnant woman who suffers.  This becomes another level of havoc that is caused by the retelling of the river, one in which voice is silent again.  The first form of marginalization is natural, while this other level of havoc is constructed by humans.

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kayalyoga's profile pic

kayalyoga | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

old poets and new poets bother to write of only raise of water level and richness of tradition.

kayalyoga's profile pic

kayalyoga | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

it's a terrible situation the the people have no humanity

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