The Country Without a Post Office Themes

Agha Shahid Ali
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Exile

The twentieth century was a century of wars, when old countries dissolved and new ones sprang up. As a result, cultural and national identity was often in flux, products of shifts in population and changing borders. The image of exile permeates much twentieth-century poetry and is a primary motif in Ali's poem. To be lost is to be in exile, not only from one's country but from oneself as well. Ali's speaker is both lost to himself and lost to his land. However, he seems to have found himself, at least temporarily, in the third section, when he says, "The entire map of the lost will be candled," suggesting that self-knowledge will be possible for a short time, as he issues stamps at night. In the penultimate stanza of the last section, the speaker finally understands that he has "no prayer" that can save him and shouts, "It's...

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This section contains 601 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Poetry for Students
The Country Without a Post Office from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.