Flashbacks of the “Final Solution”: Figurative Imagery in “the Baker”
639 WordsSep 30, 20133 Pages
Flashbacks of the “Final Solution”:
Figurative Imagery in “The Baker”
In “The Baker”, Heather Cadsby’s use of figurative imagery helps to convey the memories of the Holocaust that still haunt the baker. The use of a metaphor compares the survivor’s tattoos to veins in order to convey the permanence of the baker’s memories of the Holocaust. The speaker remarks, as they gaze upon the baker’s arm, “It’s that blue code on your arm/ [, those] four numbers I can’t decipher./ They are fixed veins” (lines 5-7). The poet uses this metaphor to compare the permanent tattoos on the baker’s arm to veins because both are blue and both will be with the baker as long as he lives. The four blue numbers on the baker’s arm are actually his identity code…show more content…
His face is also “stamped with…the reek of screams” showing how painful his memories are and how they are embedded in him. Furthermore, the reader is told that “none of [it] grows stale” meaning that the memories are too excruciating for the baker to forget. Above all, Cadsby, with the use of a metaphor, compares the baker’s friends that were killed in Auschwitz to “barely brown loaves”. The baker can be seen “remember[ing]/ other barely brown loaves” (10-11) as he bakes the bread. The brown loaves that the baker recalls are actually his friends. Based on the year that the poem was written, the baker and his friends were in Auschwitz about 50 years prior to the persona encountering the baker. When ready and cooked, the bread becomes brown. If compared to a human’s life, the metaphor demonstrates that a person is at the prime of life when they are “browned”. The baker remembers his friends that were “barely brown” when they were killed in the furnaces of Auschwitz and had not yet experienced the joys that life brings. In “The Baker”, Heather Cadsby compares ovens in a bakery to the furnaces in Auschwitz, the tattoos on the baker’s arm to veins and the unbaked loaves in the baker’s oven to his dead friends in order to give a much deeper understanding of just how much the baker suffered.
Cadsby, Heather. “The Baker”. Pre-AP English 9 Supplementary Readings: Prejudice and Social Inequity. Milton: n.p., 2012. 20.