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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 Wisdom and Knowledge Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #4

and when I take down
the map of this island, it is never so
I can say here is
the masterful, the apt rendering of

the spherical as flat, nor
an ingenious design which persuades a curve
into a plane, (17-23)

Here, the speaker describes the ways in which maps do a pretty awesome job of representing the world. But, she frames the discussion by saying that she does not look at maps because of the awesome ways that they represent the world. She has ulterior motives, this one.

Quote #5

but to tell myself again that

the line which says woodland and cries hunger
and gives out among sweet pine and cypress,
and finds no horizon

will not be there. (24-28)

The poem ends with a rationale for why the speaker looks at maps. She looks at them to account for their absences; she knows that maps do not represent famine roads. In this way, maps prove ignorant of history. But the speaker doesn't ignore her nation's troubled history. She uses the map's elisions as an opportunity to create knowledge and understand her world differently—through poetry. And by the end of this poem, we're pretty sure we understand our world differently, too.

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