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Compare and Contrast Beautiful Old Age by D.H. Lawrence with Geriatric Ward by Phoebe Hesketh

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast Beautiful Old Age by D.H. Lawrence with Geriatric Ward by Phoebe Hesketh The poems Geriatric Ward and Beautiful Old Age are related by the exploration of old age. Phoebe Hesketh (a female) is the writer of Geriatric Ward; D.H. Lawrence (a male) is the writer of Beautiful Old Age. The theme of Geriatric Ward is with death and old age. Beautiful Old Age has a similar matter of referring to the opinions of old age, but includes a different response. Geriatric Ward is basically the opposite of Beautiful Old Age. The theme of the poem is concerning the tension faced by the doctors; social order, responsibility and justice command them to save lives but their inner feelings wonder why the natural world doesn't take its route and let them die. The title instantly gives the reader the impression/image of old unwell people, incapable of looking after themselves. To reinforce the thought of how helpless they are, Hesketh presents us with "I wondered how they found their mouths"; this imagery shows us that patients need the help of professional doctors. Hesketh reveals the feelings of the elderly as being animals in a zoo. This animal imagery is toughened with the opening line "Feeding time in the Geriatric Ward". ...read more.

Middle

Already this would give the reader curiosity as they wouldn't have expected the elderly to have felt like this. The second stanza begins to use the poetic devices and goes into detail about life. Again personification is used to talk about the completeness of life, "...wrinkled smile of completeness that follows a life". Personification is repeated to show that the completeness of life will repeat over and over in/for old people. Accepting lies is mentioned in this stanza to show how important it is. Living fearless and accepting lies is part of completing life "...of completeness that follows a life lived undaunted and unsoured with accepting lies" this is mentioned in the first two lines of the second stanza, already Lawrence has talked about what the completeness of life involves. Lawrence uses alliteration to give a clearer understanding of that particular stanza (he uses the soft letters to calm the reader) "undaunted and unsoured". Lawrence then begins to talk about what the elders would be like without accepting lies. "If people lived without accepting lies they would ripen like apples, and would be scented like pippins in their old age". This means if lies were not apart of life, you'd grow completely and have the sense of admiration. ...read more.

Conclusion

Geriatric Ward is miserable but Beautiful Old Age is joyful. The point of view is different in both poems as in Geriatric Ward Hesketh uses a doctor to speak and in Beautiful Old Age Lawrence speaks and then the two children. Geriatric Ward contains rhyme at the end to show the repetition of death over and over. Geriatric Ward has a set scene (in a geriatric ward). Beautiful Old Age is a metaphor for life. Geriatric Ward has speech. Geriatric Ward opens with a very controversial statement! There is animal, zombie and war imagery in Geriatric Ward. Beautiful Old Age has seasonal imagery (autumn). In conclusion, I found the poems to be extremely effective. The two poets cleverly use the different images to compare to the old. I admired the positive view in Beautiful Old Age and the idea of using idolatry makes me begin to think about my parents/grandparents. The two poems give different responses which make me wonder, as people may think badly of their parents whereas others will think nice of them. The realistic poem, Geriatric Ward is great as it is true whereas Beautiful Old Age is all an opinion; it's an opinion which many people will agree with (including me). The unsteady rhyme scheme in both poems is a brilliant way to spread the message of uncertainty of life and death. Personally I think that these two poems are very successful, and make you think about the elderly! Khorum Sarwar 10dr ...read more.

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