What are the themes and literary devices in the poem "My Country and My People" by Lee Tzu Pheng?

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One literary device that is used in the first two lines of the poem is enjambment. Enjambment occurs when a line of poetry flows over into the next line of the poem without using some kind of punctuation mark. By using enjambment, a poet can speed up the poem in key locations because readers are not meant to pause at the end of the line. The technique also allows the poet to extend an idea through multiple lines of the poem. Lee Tzu Pheng actually uses enjambment throughout much of this particular poem.

In a couple of places, Pheng uses alliteration. Alliteration is when a number of words appear in close proximity to each other, and all have the same first consonant sound. Readers can see this technique being used in the following lines, which repeat the m sound:

They built milli-mini-flats
for a multi-mini-society.

Two lines previous to the quoted lines also offer a good example of alliteration, these with the c sound.

because the cars could not be curbed.

Line ten of the poem also uses alliteration with the b sound when the speaker tells us about the "boom of babies." This particular line also contains another literary technique. That technique is onomatopoeia. Onomatopoeia is the usage of a word that imitates the natural sound of a thing. The full line of the poem mentions the baby boom and booming of guns. The word "boom" imitates the natural sound of a large firearm like a rifle or a cannon.

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