Living space by Imtiaz Dharker Flashcards Preview

English Anthology poetry > Living space by Imtiaz Dharker > Flashcards

Flashcards in Living space by Imtiaz Dharker Deck (10)
Loading flashcards...

“Living Space” TITLE


—> Lack of emotional connection.
Not calling it home, means it lacks the safety and warmth.
Could present a place that is alive from the large number of people and energy


“There are just not enough
straight lines. That
is the problem”


—> Enjambement reflects how the slums are constructed poorly and wonky, as it does not fit in one line.
-straight lines + uneven line length: metaphor for the fragility of their lives, with insecure walls or no way forward



balance crookedly”


—> Alliteration brings it together and enjambment pulls it apart. Tension of the connection is just like the slums
-crookedly suggests beams are unstable, a representation of the slums


“The whole structure leans dangerously”

‘towards the miraculous’


—> This line is longer than any other, “leans over the rest of the poem.
Reflects irregularity of slums.
-juxtaposition showing the change from danger and hardship to miraculous and hope, highlights poet’s feelings of admiration


“dare to place

these eggs in a wire basket”


—> verb ‘dare’ shows how people rebel against poor conditions in an attempt to find their own opportunities
—> Egg symbolises new life, rebirth and fragility. Symbolises the lives of the people, as they have the potential for a better future yet their opportunities are highly restricted by the wire basket (aka Mumbai)


’ fragile curves of white’
Hung out over the Dark edge
Of a slanted universe”


—> One of few words that rhyme with light, giving connotations of hope and possibly regularity.
-bright egg contrasts with the ‘dark edge’ show egg is pure, unholy and untouched against a broken dark world
—> Represent how the slums are those peoples’ world.
“Slanted” suggests she could be attacking the world as the universe is full of inequality and poverty. Could imply how the peoples’ perspectives on life is crooked due to their impoverished and ‘slanted’ lives
-parallel for crooked walls and ceilings


‘Gathering the light

into themselves


—> juxtaposes the previous darkness and ‘slanted universe’

-highlights hope and alacrity of slums


“ The bright, thin walls of faith’


—> suggest how no matter how small or think their faith is, all the people still hold a ‘bright’ hope that leads them to continue living their lives.




-No proper structure, like how the buildings were developed.

  • First half - structure of the buildings.
  • Lines 11 onwards - presented with an image of something inside, gives hope.
  • Longest line ‘whole structure leans dangerously’ - suggests structure is leaning over.
  • Lines lengths are all different, emphasises instability and irregularity.

‘that flat’
Beams seams’
‘space place’
white light bright’
moments of rhyme act as a way of holding the poem together just like the houses
can represent the moments where people in such conditions show hope for a better future


good old context

  • Imtiaz Dharker: Imtiaz Dharker is a contemporary poet who was born in Pakistan and grew up in Scotland, and draws upon this multi-cultural experience in her work. She is also a film director and has scripted a number of documentaries in India, particularly supporting work with women and children. Dharker’s intimate knowledge of Mumbai is evident in this poem.
  • Dharavi, Mumbai: ‘Living Space’ focuses on Dharavi, which is Asia’s second largest slum, where over a million people are densely packed together in a 2 square km area in Mumbai. Up to 10 people often live in a single room and more than 80 people share a public toilet, while many houses do not even have running water. In a city where house rents are among the highest in the world, Dharavi provides a cheap and affordable option to those who move to Mumbai to earn their living. Rents here can be as low as 185 rupees ($4/£2.20) per month. As Dharavi is located between Mumbai’s two main suburban rail lines, most people find it convenient for work. Dharavi has a large number of thriving small-scale industries that produce embroidered garments, export quality leather goods, pottery and plastic. Most of these products are made in tiny manufacturing units spread across the slum and are sold in domestic as well as international markets. The annual turnover of business here is estimated to be more than $650m (£350m) a year.