2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

A Descendant Without Ancestors: A Critical Analysis of Agha Shahid Ali's "Cracked Portraits" and "Snowmen."
Joel A. Geders
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

In many poems in The Half-Inch Himalayas, Agha Shahid Ali depicts his ancestors and ancestral objects, such as bangles, Dacca gauzes, and his parents' old home, as decaying or in the process of being destroyed. These images create a sense of loss of something that cannot be regained in the poems. Similarly, the poems "Cracked Portraits" and "Snowmen" speak of ancestors, death, and decay. The speakers in both poems both acknowledge and transcend their ancestral legacies. In the poem "Snowmen," Ali depicts his ancestors as snowmen--something that is only temporary, that melts away. "Cracked Portraits" also portrays the speaker's ancestors through objects that are temporary, the cracking, decaying family paintings.

Keywords: Agha Shahid Ali, The Half-Inch Himalayas, Cracked Portraits, Snowmen

Topic(s):Women's and Gender Studies
Asian Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 106-3
Location: VH 1228
Time: 8:30

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