Essay on Fleur Adcock: Analysis of Instead of an Interview

Words: 888
Pages: 4

'Instead of an Interview' by Fleur Adcock, is a poem essentially about the divided sense of identity she has inherited: from both family (or historical) emigrant experience and personal deportation. In the poem, the issue is complicated, as Adcock explores the loss and alienation that emerges from the choice of long-term separation from family.

It begins with descriptive visual imagery, where Adcock attempts to familiarise herself with the childhood images of "The hills", "water, the clean air", and "a river or two", "certain bays", and "those various and incredible hills". The description almost seems like a ramble, which evokes a fresh and exciting experience. Although we learn later on in this poem that she addresses England as her
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The trees and gardens were ruined over the years and replaced by synthetic and unnatural materials. Hence, her sense of possession has strengthened, with whatever piece of nature and memory that remains.

'Instead of an Interview' exposes Adcock's sense of an identity split between New Zealand and Britain. This alternating change in culture evidently created confusion with Adcock identifying herself. Adcock explained to her niece, "home is London; and England, Ireland, Europe. "Perhaps she is entirely attached (maybe temporarily) to the British culture, since she has practically lived there her whole adult and professional life. After visiting her birth town, all the childhood memories came flooding in; perhaps she resisted them because she is still so confused about where she really belongs. The idea of 'home' being a "loaded word" re-emphasises her befuddled state of being. Adding to that, the poem ends with a question mark: "have I made myself for the first time an exile?" This use of punctuation leaves the reader puzzled, with plenty of questions, because the speaker herself is unsure about her identity. For the first time, Fleur feels she has made herself an "exile", which is the state of being expelled from one's native country. This is a serious dilemma and seems as though she wrote this poem in a slightly sentimental hangover from having visited