The Black Lace Fan My Mother Gave Me

1533 Words Sep 3rd, 2013 7 Pages
Practice Commentary: The Black Lace Fan My Mother Gave Me

Eavan Bolland’s “The Black Lace Fan my Mother Gave me” from her book, “Outside History” (1990) gives readers the first impression that the poem is about the value of a fan that has been passed down to her. However, based on the title, the term “black lace” raises a sense of mystery and darkness as black lace is not completely see-through, there are spots that need to be filled in. To illustrate the value of the black lace fan, the speaker, who is unknown, narrates on how the mother received it and also used very vivid descriptions on its significance.

To add to the sense of mystery suggested by the title, the use of “him” and “her” instead of actual names enhances this quality of
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The shortness of the sentence, “She stood up” acts as a sudden pause in the story, as though this abrupt action has frozen time. In the next few lines, Bolland uses a miserable tone to reflect on the mother’s mood. To emphasize this sense of misery, she uses the three rhyming words, “emptying”, “killing” and “lighting”, which have the connotations of bitterness and depression. Bolland also uses pathetic fallacy to reflect on the emotions of the mother, stating that the distance “smelled” of rain and lightning. The “distance” that is mentioned here may symbolize how distant she and her lover is now. At this point, the readers would feel a sense of pathos towards this character. Hence, the third stanza is a transitioning phase between her presence of the current situation and her stream of consciousness.

As mentioned before, the mother loses touch with the real world and is engaged in the beauty and delicacy of the black lace fan. Bolland’s use of visual imagery is impressive, as the readers get to have a clear picture of the texture and details of the fan. The lines that read
“These are wild roses, appliqued on silk by hand,
Darkly picked, stitched boldly, quickly.” make the description of the fan sound much more interesting as Bolland has used
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