Worked answer

4. [A good way to begin this question would be to list Spanish and Russian references in two columns in order to develop a range of contrasting images.]

In this poem, Foxa contrasts Castilian tradition with Russian imperialism by juxtaposing communist imagery and ideas ('sickles', as in hammer and sickle; 'earthly [i.e. materialistic] paradises') against symbols of eternal, united Spain, of which Castile is held to be the crucible. Indigenous natural phenomena (blood-red poppies, tall and dignified poplars) are contrasted with the cold and sterile form of Russian tanks, 'animals without blood, mate or sweat'. And a powerful thread of religious imagery underlines how the spiritual essence of Spanish nationhood can never assimilate the finite, inorganic and perishable values of communism. Foxa brings out this theme of unassailable tradition and potent spirituality by reference to 'theogonies', the classical Athenian world of divine heroes. He also makes use of Christian references, ending five consecutive lines with: 'sepulchres . . . heavens . . . prayers . . . two thousand years old . . . his shepherds rule'. Furthermore, romantic references to Spain's rural traditions ('noble Spanish fields'; 'oxen and wooden ploughs') are set against 'this' world of alien factories. Projecting this contrast into the future, Foxa suggests that whereas the fertile Spanish race will give birth to devout generations as yet beyond the horizon, the invader will be consumed by the Spanish earth. The ironic references to 'what hope?' and 'what can?' (lines 3 and 4) further underline the author's confidence in Spain's destiny. Spain, with Castile as its spiritual core, is seen in this poem as a beacon of faith, an enduring culture, against which communist iconoclasm is doomed to fail.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment