Answers to Letters

What is the theme in Answers to Letters by Tomas Transtromer?

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"Answers to Letters" is, in part, a journey of self-discovery. This journey begins as soon as the letter arrives, but it is not explicit until, in the third stanza, the speaker discusses hearing "yourself" on the other side of a wall in time's labyrinth; here it becomes clear that the speaker is searching for his own identity, not for another person who wrote the letter. The journey to find the "self" then builds until it reaches the climax in the line: "Or at least so far away from here that I can find myself again." This sentence, which ties directly back to the initial image of a letter delivered twenty-six years ago yet "in panic" and "still breathing," suggests that Tranströmer sees a paradox in the search for the self.