this room by imtiaz dharker n.
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‘This Room’ by Imtiaz Dharker. What do we associate with rooms?. What could the room be a metaphor for?. What does this image remind you of?. This room is breaking out of itself, cracking through its own walls in search of space, light, empty air.

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What do we associate with rooms?

What could the room be a metaphor for?

What does this image remind you of?

This room is breaking out

of itself, cracking through

its own walls

in search of space, light,

empty air.

Does the poet see the room as a positive or negative thing?

What is it called when an object is given human characteristics?

what do we associate with rooms
What do we associate with rooms?
  • The place where we live.
  • Private places that belong to us and where we belong.
  • Rooms can separate people.
  • They have walls that confine us.
  • We shut out other people from our rooms.

The room as a metaphor

The room could be a metaphor for culture. Cultures are often associated with national boundaries.

Language, religion, race, social customs etc can form invisible walls keeping others from understanding what happens in the ‘room’.


In which direction are things moving?

The bed is lifting out of

its nightmares.

From dark corners, chairs

are rising up to crash through clouds.

Is the movement into light or darkness?


This is the time and place

to be alive:

when the daily furniture of our lives

stirs, when the improbable arrives.

Pots and pans bang together

in celebration, clang

Past the crowd of garlic, onions, spices,

Fly by the ceiling fan.

No one is looking for the door.

Could the furniture be the beliefs or everyday objects that clutter our lives?

What is our daily furniture?

Movement gathers pace.

What tense is used? Why?

Why is ‘no one looking for the door’? What does that usually mean?

Are there any words that rhyme? Can you spot any onomatopoeia?

Why is no one “looking for the door”? Presumably, because there are now so many different ways of leaving the room, without using the conventional route.

We are not told what is precisely happening, only that it is something unforeseen and unlikely (improbable) – so the reader can only speculate about what is bringing about this transformation.


In all this excitement

I’m wondering where

I’ve left my feet, and why

My hands are outside, clapping.

What does this suggest?

Speaker left wondering what it means to be swept up in excitement.


One's sense of self is also confused - we say sometimes that we are all over the place, and the poet depicts this literally, as well - she cannot find her feet (a common metaphor for gaining a sense of purpose or certainty) and realizes that her hands are not even in the same room - and have taken on a life of their own, applauding.


Could the poem be about the excitement of moments when things change? At these moments our surroundings seem to share our excitement – or it’s as if they do. We do not know the cause of this joyful explosion, but it seems to be bound up with personal happiness and fulfilment - it might be romantic love, but it could be other things: maternity, a new job, artistic achievement, almost anything that is genuinely and profoundly life-changing.

more to think about
More to think about…..
  • In the poem our homes and possessions symbolise our lives and ambitions in a limiting sense, while change and new opportunities are likened to space, light and “empty air”, where there is an opportunity to move and grow. Like Walcott's Love After Love it is about change and personal growth - but at an earlier point, or perhaps at repeated points in one's life.
What do you think the poet means by imagining a room breaking out of itself?
  • How does the poet suggest ideas of change and opportunity?
  • This is a very happy poem - how does Imtiaz Dharker suggest her joy in it?
  • What is the effect of the images in the poem - of rooms, Does the poem give us any clues as to why this furniture and crockery bursting into life?