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That the Science of Cartography Is Limited

That the Science of Cartography Is Limited


by Eavan Boland

That the Science of Cartography Is Limited Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. What is the relationship between personal experience and national history in the poem? How do they affect each other?
  2. Why do you think that the poem is framed as a hypothesis, followed by the speaker's proof of that hypothesis? What's the effect of this unusual choice? 
  3. What is the role of sensory experience in the poem? Why does the speaker pay so much attention to the fragrance of the forest, the way the grass has covered the stones of the famine road, etc.? 
  4. What is the relationship between history and representation in the poem? Does the poem provide any alternatives to cartography, as a way of representing or understanding history? 
  5. We know that this poem was written in 1994, but imagine it was written today. How might the existence of digital maps change the poem? Are we able to represent the world more fully with digital maps?

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