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When Hope Comes Back. Megan Rothgeb Devon McGinn Julia McCrane. “There’s nothing left”.

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When hope comes back
When Hope Comes Back

Megan Rothgeb

Devon McGinn

Julia McCrane

There s nothing left
“There’s nothing left”

The author, Gu Cheng, keeps repeating the line “There’s nothing left” to emphasize the state that China is in at the time. China put many restrictions on personal expression such as art and literature, so he is speaking out against this matter. Gu Cheng keeps repeating this line to create a tone of hopelessness and despair. It conveys the image that the people have nothing left such as food because there is many famines. The “nothing” is referring to hope and resources.

There s more
“There’s more”

In the second half of the poem, the author says “There’s more”. This is referring to how there is still hope left for the nation of China. This contrast the pessimistic tone of the beginning of the poem. “There’s more” shows the optimistic and hopefulness of the people of China.

Negative versus positive view
Negative Versus Positive View

  • The first three stanzas create a dark picture of the little remnants of China during the cultural revolution. The first half of the poem focuses on all what they’ve lost to the government stating the “sky’s alive with gulls” which symbolized the government. The poet is saying the government is like gulls because it’s all around you waiting to take what’s your and devour it. The poet also says the fish recall an “army of shopkeepers” referring to the bourgeoisie citizens forced to move to the country by the government. The poet uses this imagery to highlight the desolate and dark city, the negative side, leftover from this so-called revolution. Throughout the first three stanzas, the poet utilizes dark imagery to illustrate the negative consequences of the revolution. As the poem progresses, the refrain goes from “there’s nothing left” to “there’s more” indicating a shift to a positive point of view. The author sees hope in the Misty Poets and his ability to communicate his voice. The poet uses the child to symbolize society in China. In the poem, the child is comforted and told there’s more as the poet is saying there is more to this revolution than darkness. The world isn’t totally dark; “a solitary star approaches” and the sun will stay on the horizon leaving light. The fourth to sixth stanzas contrast the first three because it focuses on the good still left in China whereas the first three looks at the darkness in China due to the cultural revolution.

Theme of when hope comes back
Theme of “When Hope Comes Back”

  • The theme of When Hope Comes Back is keeping hope in dark times. The Cultural Revolution was a dark time for bourgeoisie and the thinkers. Mao Zedong purged all previous culture and try to rid the country of intellectuals. Gu Cheng illustrates this desolate, dark period in this poem throughout the first three periods. He creates images such as "sky's alive with gulls" symbolizing the government leeching on the citizens. The poem also includes the image "the sea is black as a hole”. The black hole is mysterious and frightening while the sea pushes its pressure down on you which represents the Chinese government’s pressure and power on its citizens. The first three stanzas use various images to fully express the disparity in this time in China. However, Gu Cheng uses the last three stanzas to say: although all seems lost, there is hope in the world. The poet uses “there’s more” to signify hope still exist in this mindless society. No longer dark, a single star approaches symbolizing hope coming to light up the Chinese society. Also, “the sun will anchor in the harbor” representing happiness or hope for happiness will stay around for these citizens. Gu Cheng restates this theme in the end of poem with “hope’s back/ what more can I say?”, showing the most important message is hope did exist in China and exists in the most seemingly dark situations. Gu Cheng uses various images in “When Hope Comes Back” to teach the reader there is hope in the dark times of life.