• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In Gwen Harwood's poetry, the changes in an individual's perspective and attitudes towards situations, surroundings and, therefore transformations in themselves, are brought on by external influences

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Glass Jar Gwen Harwood Gwen Harwood was born in 1920 in Brisbane, Queensland. Her family was affectionate and loving and as a child she was immersed in music, philosophy, religion and language. She was raised in a family of strong women, her grandmother lived until she was 80, and her mother was a feminist who was into community issues. It was Gwen's grandmother that introduced her to poetry. Her father played the piano and violin. Both Gwen and her brother were given piano lessons. She then became a music teacher, organist at the All Saints Church of England in Brisbane and a member of the Handel society. Then she became actively involved in religion, as she had always had a fondness for the Old Testament. She began writing poetry in 1950 and in this time, Australia was predominantly white and middle class. Men were still dominant, and only very few women entered the work force. Gwen was of upper middle class, and many of her poems are based on her Christian beliefs and society's beliefs. However, Gwen did not adhere to strict social rules, instead challenging the beliefs towards motherhood and many other issues of the time. ...read more.

Middle

Their hopes, dreams, beliefs, founded on their naive perspective of life, and the way the young restyle themselves consciously or subconsciously as they make new discoveries are all explored. In the poem The Glass Jar we witness the heart-wrenching episode in a little boy's life, where he is made to discover a distressing reality. Putting his faith first in a monstrance and then in his own mother, he finds himself being betrayed by both. With the many allusions to nature (for example the personification of the sun and references to animals and woods and so on) Gwen Harwood constructs a dynamic backdrop which allow the responder to dwell on the subtle shifts in the child's personality. The setting is the terrain of nightmares and dreams, where conscious will is suppressed and the reigns are handed to the subconscious mind. By making subtle changes in the ways dreams are portrayed, she shows us that the boy has been changed by his experiences. Before "the betrayals" the dreams are quite indefinite, relying on incomplete images of pincers, claws and fangs to represent the horror. The lines, "His sidelong violence summoned/ fiends whose mosaic vision saw/ his heart entire" are literal indications of his incapability to comprehend what is happening to him. ...read more.

Conclusion

The pace of the poem changes as two or more verses dwell on the horrible death: bundle of stuff that dropped, and dribbled through loose straw tangling in bowels, and hopped blindly closer. I saw those eyes that did not see mirror my cruelty Her father comes to her side and makes her carry the responsibility she had assumed to the end by asking her to kill the animal. In contrast to innocence of the young, Gwen Harwood also attempts to understand death and how it changes the personality of the people experiencing its influence. In the second part of Father and Child we see a middle aged woman, a completely different person from "the child once quick to mischief," attempting to cope with her father's imminent death. Set appropriately in the twilight of the day we are taken through the feelings of the women who is narrating the story herself. In stark contrast to the narrative of Barn Owl, the language of reflection and memories constructs Nightfall: Who could be what you were? Link your dry hand in mine, my stick-thin comforter. Far distant suburbs shine with great simplicities. Birds crowd in flowering trees, At a much slower, more controlled pace we toy with the many faces of death, trying to penetrate its mysteries. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE War Poetry essays

  1. Gwen Harwood's poems "The Glass Jar" exhibits the life-changing events, as does the first ...

    The description of his father as a contender for his mother's love shows how he is realising that his mother does not exist solely for him. Dramatic irony is used at this point, where Harwood communicates directly to the reader that "love's proud executants played from a score/no child could

  2. Dickinson's BECAUSE I COULD NOT STOP FOR DEATH

    at producing principles and rules for explaining the whole of man as a social animal, not man as a being who reads for pleasure. Their goal is to integrate into one overall picture all human activities, including literature. These theories are thus actually philosophical and political systems, rather than descriptive ones.

  1. 'Compare a selection of WW1 poetry to show how different aspects of the war ...

    In the first sentence the man is immediately described as a ghost. 'He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark, And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey' This tells you that the war had played a big effect on his life and he sacrificed a lot of his life just to fight in the 'great' war.

  2. Compare The Poets Attitudes Towards Death In Sonnet 73 And Crossing The Bar.

    This imagery also being used in the first line of Tennyson's poem - 'Sunset and evening star.' Shakespeare writes - 'In me thou seest the twilight of such day As after sunset fadeth in the west, Which is soon extinguished by black night The image of death that envelops all in rest.'

  1. Explain the changes made by the author during the drafting of his poem. Vergissmeinnicht ...

    The author reflects that he may have been the boy 'to whom Steffi had written Vergissmeinnicht'- the owner of the inscribed photograph lying in the ditch. The dead soldier is not specifically cited as the owner of the picture, presumably because this is a very literal interpretation of the real-life story.

  2. Comparison between “Another Mystery” by Raymond Carver and “Out, Out-” by Robert Frost

    When the doctor came the boy wailed to his sister, "Don't let him cut my hand off", but the hand was already gone and the boy was in denial because he never thought that something like this could happen to him.

  1. War Poetry

    When he describes the gas-shells "dropping softly behind" it is interesting that the poet uses soft vowel sounds like hoots, dropping, softly when describing the harsh impact of a bomb! The soldiers have become immune to the sounds, they are used to the sound, they could be thinking of other things or too tired to care.

  2. What attitudes do these poets convey towards War and Death

    As the war got under way, soldiers began to contemplate their own thoughts and hopes of the war, and what it might achieve.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work