Analysis of Poem This Room by Imtiaz Dharker

Updated on April 23, 2018
chef-de-jour profile image

Andrew has a keen interest in all aspects of poetry and writes extensively on the subject. His poems are published online and in print.

Imtiaz Dharker
Imtiaz Dharker | Source

Imtiaz Dharker and This Room

This Room is a poem that is based on Imtiaz Dharker's own experience whilst living in the city of Mumbai (Bombay). It focuses on the idea that a room can suddenly become unstable and start to fall apart physically.

More than this, the same room can be turned into a metaphor which stands for personal change within, which affects change without.

This is what the poet has done, turn four walls and a ceiling into life itself - life includes culture, routines, privacy, customs, language, religion and personal belief.

  • This Room is therefore an extended metaphor, progressing from the negative to the more positive as the changes take place within the room.
  • The poem also contains personification, alliteration and onomatopoeia, more of which in the analysis below.
  • The syntax - the way clauses, sentences and grammar fit together - is quite straightforward, more like chopped up prose. The shorter lines mean that the reader has to go a bit slower.
  • Enjambment - when a line ends with no punctuation but meaning carries on into the next - occurs in the first four stanzas.
  • The tone of the poem is a mix of surprise, relief and joy. At first there is objectivity, then hyperbole (exaggeration), then personal if somewhat surreal happiness.

Imtiaz Dharker first published this poem in 2001 in her book I Speak for the Devil and it has been a popular choice for schools and colleges since that time.

This Room

This room is breaking out

of itself, cracking through

its own walls

in search of space, light,

empty air.


The bed is lifting out of

its nightmares.

From dark corners, chairs

are rising up to crash through clouds.


This is the time and place

to be alive:

when the daily furniture of our lives

stirs, when the improbable arrives.

Pots and pans bang together

in celebration, clang

past the crowd of garlic, onion, spices,

fly by the ceiling fan.

No one is looking for the door.


In all this excitement

I'm wondering where

I've left my feet, and why


my hands are outside, clapping.

Analysis of This Room

This Room appears to focus on the physical disintegration of a room, the breaking up and cracking taking place in the here and now, but is actually an extended metaphor for personal change and transition from the negative to the positive.

  • Imtiaz Dharker has said that this poem was inspired by a real life experience, when her ceiling in her apartment in India fell in and caused much chaos. She therefore took this potentially dangerous situation and transformed it into a poem which magically becomes a focal point for inner change.

What was once cosy domesticity is now radically altered. The private and personal space so welcoming and secure is now threatened with annihilation - the walls may tumble in, the roof collapse, the whole thing turned upside down.

This is what can happen in life when we sense a need for change or when circumstances force us to change direction, to search for a different space, to seek the light and gain a new perspective on life.

And in doing so it is often the case that our perception alters, we feel time is warped, our mindset unstable, the environment unpredictable.

What happens within can often affect what happens without. When we're unhappy the room we're in may feel oppressive, unsafe, a gloomy space. When we're in a good mood aren't the walls a bit brighter, isn't the space full of more positive vibes?

The poem reflects this idea in every stanza.

First Stanza

The room seems to be breaking up by itself, like some creature wanting to shed a skin it has this unstoppable urge to seek the new light and air. Already the reader is aware of the unreal - this room is doing all this by itself? Well, at least there is a hint of something positive happening.

Second Stanza

Even the bed gets involved, that place where we dream, where we sleep - it seems the nightmares are over. Perhaps the speaker is relieved that at last change has come.

There's a certain levitation at work. Furniture lifts, as in a dream scenario, going up to the sky. Note the active verbs already - breaking out, cracking through, crashing through...this transition is dynamic.

Third Stanza

The longest stanza for the most important lines perhaps...this is the time and place to be alive..indeed. The furniture shifts, the domestic scene is upset, the change is occurring and will happen no matter what is in its way.

It's as if the kitchen utensils are alive (they are because they're personified) and getting together with the foodstuffs which are gathered as if in anticipation. This is the shaking up of a whole culture, the traditional way of life...and its not going out the door, its staying.

This could be the poet's own Pakistani roots and influences remaining strong within, despite the upheaval.

Fourth Stanza

The speaker now comes 'alive' so to speak, in the first person. This reflects the very personal change within, one of excitement and puzzlement, following the objective descriptions of previous stanzas.

And there is a hint of the surreal again as the speaker doesn't quite know where her feet are - has she a leg left to stand on, can't she find her feet? Her life has been up in the air recently but now is beginning to settle?

Fifth Stanza

A single line, with some uncertainty and also happiness or relief. The speaker's hands are outside - applauding (clapping) - outside the room, the house? This is figurative language - the hands are symbols of a positive outcome and they want to show their appreciation of the events.

What could have been turmoil and emotional upset has turned into something wholly good.

More Analysis of This Room

This Room is a free verse poem with 22 lines made up of 5 stanzas of varying length. There is no set rhyme scheme and the metre (meter in American English) varies from line to line.

There is occasional rhyme but this is more accidental than formally consistent:

nightmares/chairs....alive/lives/arrives.

Free Verse

With no constraining rhyme scheme or regular beat pattern within the lines, the idea of freedom is introduced to the reader. So whilst a room may be a place of containment and restriction, in this particular case the form of the poem helps free everything up.

Metaphor

The room is a metaphor for life, new life, and the possibility that good things can emerge out of the negative.

Personification

When things are given human traits and behaviour then this is called personification. In the poem the furniture is personified because it stirs and is in celebration. Likewise, the room is also breaking out of itself and is in search.

Alliteration

When words that begin with consonants are placed close together in a poem their sounds are said to be alliterative, they sound the same and add interest and texture to the phonetics. So in the poem take note of:

Line 4 : in search of space

Line 9 : crash through clouds

Line 10 : This is the

Line 14 : Pots and pans

Line 17 : fly by the ceiling fan

Repetition

Repeated words and phrases help reinforce certain meanings and sounds:

This room/itself/its own walls....This is....when the daily/when the improbable

Onomatopeia

When words sound like what they denote then this onomatopoeia. For example:

rising up to crash....Pots and pans bang....clang...fly

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Andrew Spacey

    Comments

    Submit a Comment

    • chef-de-jour profile image
      Author

      Andrew Spacey 8 weeks ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      Appreciate your visit. An interesting poem indeed.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 8 weeks ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Very impressed with both the poem itself and your descriptive analysis. An educational treat! Thank you.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)