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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Analysis of The Companion by Yevgeny Yevtushenko


Picture from ohehs.org
SUMMARY OF THE POEM
The battle was very tense and near the clinkers of the rail was a little girl named Katya, "sitting on the rough embankment" wearing a hat bigger than her head. She was nine years of age and we were "cut off from our grandmothers/ while the Germans were dive-bombing the train". I could not stand the idea of leaving her behind yet did not know what to do with her "but doubt quickly dissolved to certainty" as the sounds of exlosion were no longer at close range.
I gave her a better air of boot and we began trekking through streams and forests until I got tired and suddenly sat beside a fence
"Whats the matter with you?' she said.
Don't be so stuid! Put grass in your boots.
Do you want to eat something? Why won't you talk?
Hold this thin, this is crab.
We'll have refreshments. You small boys,
You're always pretending to be brave" (according to 33-38)
After a little rest, we resumed trekking, walking side-by-side and because I didn't want her to call me lazy, I gathered all my strength and further trekked long distance without rest; "passing craters, passing fire/ under the rocking sky of '41/ tottering crazy on its smoking columns".

HISTORICAL RELEVANCE OF THE POEM
The context of the poem fixed it under the war related poems such as (1) The Battle of Stanford Bridge by Laurence Binyon, (2) O Captain My Captain by Walt Whitman, (3) Five Ways To Kill A Man by Edwin Brock, (4) At Fifteen I Went With The Army by Arthur Waley, (5) An Irish Airman Foresees His Death by W. B. Yeats, etc. The poem speaker tends to share his experience of war at a very tender age where himself and a little girl were vulnerably isolated to seek survival. It can easily be concluded that the poem speaker recollected the 1941 battle between the Germans and Russians since the poet was a Russian and mentioned "the Germans were dive-bombing the train" in line 9 of the poem. A prove of year of event can be found in line 48 which says, "under the rocking sky of '41"; as read in a wikipedia article, such battle between German and Russian lasted 4 years.

FURTHER EXPLANATION OF THE POEM
The Companion by Yevgeny Yevtushenko is a free verse of 49 lines in total. In terms of the theme, the commonly seen negative impacts of war are as well present in the poem; homelessness, brutality, survival, children transforming into scavengers, etc. The homeless situation of the little girl and the poem speaker led them to seek a safe haven and the instance of brutality can be seen in line 8-9 "We got cut off from our grandmothers/ while the Germans were dive-bombing the train". The tone of the poem is mild and revealing which was presented from a first person point of view in order to create a sense of reminder in the heart of the readers. The largely employed imageries pointed at multiple settings such as the rail, the forest, beside the fence, etc. 

ABOUT THE POET
Yevgeny Yevtushenko was a Russian poet, novelist and actor whose love for art and humanity will linger very long in the hearts of literature lovers. He spent a very meaningful 83 years on earth between 1933 and 2017. Considering many of his works, "Women occupy important place in Yevtushenko's verse. In keeing with his sympathy for the peasant and workers. He dedicates many poems to the hardworking Russian woman, as in "The Hut", so says an article critically examining the life and work of the poet. The poem "The Companion" and other poems such as Lies, Psychotherapy, Fury, Babii Yar, I'm An Angel, and a whole lot can be found at the poemhunter website.
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Enunwa Chukwudinma S aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying) 
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