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Taslima Nasrin’s poem “Border” is told from the point of view of a woman fantasizing about leaving her family for a life of freedom.  Interestingly, she intends on returning, which is different from many stories with this theme.  The narrator is Hindi, and from the limited research I did on the roles of women in Hindi families, women are expected to be subservient to their husbands and devoted to their children.  It seems to me that this behavior is ingrained into the narrator’s very being, which is why she repeats the refrain “and then return” after saying what she’ll do once she escapes from her family.

The poem reads as if the narrator is trying to convince herself to leave, despite her longing to do so.  She clearly feels trapped by her family – “I know how to swim but they / won’t let me swim, won’t let me cross.”  While dreaming about her escape, she imagines playing keep-away and dancing as she did as a child.  The longing with which she speaks of these dreams makes it seem as though the narrator is ready to leave her home immediately, but reading the last line of the poem made me wonder about this.  “Why shouldn’t I go?  I’ll go,” the speaker says.  I think this line can be taken two ways:  as a woman determined to temporarily leave her responsibilities who is ready to leave as soon as possible, or as one who wants desperately to leave and is trying to convince herself but lacks the courage to do so.  I think the second explanation is more likely.  Another word that Nasrin repeats throughout the poem is “someday.”  To me, adding this word to each description of the things she’ll do when she gets away shows that while she has the dream to leave, she lacks the courage to actually do so.

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