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Explore the ways in which Isobel Dixon uses language and other poetic devices to present her ideas of freedom and restriction in Plenty

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Introduction

Explore the ways in which Isobel Dixon uses language and other poetic devices to present her ideas of freedom and restriction in "Plenty" Isobel Dixon went to heaven and hell, she is one woman who knows what it is to suffer. She went from humble beginnings as a child living in the extremely poor and dry region of Karoo in South Africa. To an affluent and successful poet, Dixon manages to write a poem about freedom and restriction, a poem where she goes from having 'Plenty' of suffering to 'Plenty' of money. Using language and other poetic devices we can precisely analyze how Dixon presents her ideas, and if it is possible to have both, plenty of money, and happiness. When Dixon introduces her family in the first paragraph, she uses rhymes, making the text have rhythm and a twist to it, but what is most important is that Dixon rhymes the two most important words in the second line, it was a "running riot to my mother`s quiet despair". ...read more.

Middle

Her mother`s smile also can be seen as a "lid clamped hard" upon all the small amounts of resources and worries that spill out, it is a simile that holds the family together. Her mother is stoic and a survivor, she cannot therefore show what she actually feels inside, she must clasp it with a smile. The third stanza gives us the adult perspective, Dixon's present day thoughts of her difficult childhood. She feels guilty, because only now she is mature and can understand what her mother had to put up with when raising her children, only now she understands why her mother spared every gram of aspirin, every millimeter of porridge and every crumb of bread. Dixon uses sibilance, to present the idea of restriction as well as freedom, whereas the 's' sound represents water flowing smoothly, " She saw it always, snapping locks and straps,/ the spilling: sums and worries, shopping lists" as if it was free, the strong consonance alliteration cuts the 's' sound, as if the water is restricted to flow. ...read more.

Conclusion

The water is no longer "disgorged from fat brass taps", it is now a "hot cascade". She presents her ideas of freedom by demonstrating how a rich person takes a bath, how she is free to let the hot cascade fall on top of her, with not the slightest sense of guilt. On the other hand, she is not completely happy. After having everything, she still misses her now "scattered sisters", who were no longer cramped up in a single age-stained bathtub, but spread across the globe, and her mother's smile was finally "loosed from the bonds." She is now really smiling, not preventing chaos. Dixon walked the long path of life, living the most difficult conditions one could have, until she finally managed to make her way to the doors of richness. She had indeed plenty of suffering as well as luxury, but having both was the real challenge. There is a bittersweet feeling in the end, as she is now materially sound but alone in her tub. ...read more.

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