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Household Gods

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Introduction

'Household Gods' In the poem 'Household Gods', Philip Hobsbaum uses an extended metaphor of a house and the furniture within to depict six household gods dying in the household objects as the relationship between a two people has ended, leaving the house deserted. Upon first reading this poem, different things come into mind about the true meaning of it. First of all you are lead to believe that a person, perhaps a child, is watching a couple going through a break up with a line such as 'hardly at all remember how her slim Long fingers once caressed me - was that how At one time she touched him'. The use of me, him, and her makes the reader believe that it is actually a person speaking. Upon further reading and re reading it becomes evermore clear that the poem is written from an omniscient point of view and that there are in fact multiple speakers as the stanzas are written in quotations. ...read more.

Middle

In the third stanza a cup or mug is talking from the lines 'His lips on mine in the morning, or, in darkness...warmed my clay'. The clay being what the cup is made from and the lips on the brim (lips) of the cup itself. In the fourth stanza you can see a carpet in the house talking from the line 'They lay me down to serve their steady feet' . The house itself is talking in the next stanza; 'bit by bit they painted my walls, the ceiling, Made me in terms of their vision...' . The sixth household item 'talking' in the poem says 'my hands repeat themselves, so does not time,...I gather myself to cough one cautious chime' from this you have an idea that it is an old chiming clock as the hands of a clock repeat themselves countless times. It then goes back to the mirror talking in the seventh stanza as well as back to a house conclusion in the last two stanzas. ...read more.

Conclusion

'I see no more. Their life gave our lives meaning, But broken homes will not set again. Their parting was our dissolution, they Will never know their household gods are slain.' The use of these extended metaphors of household items telling the story of the household gods and why they were slain is very effective. This is because in each stanza there is another object or god quoted allowing the reader to view all perspectives and put the story together object by object, rather than their being one single narrator whose view could possibly be limited. The fact that the author has chosen these objects allows the reader to relate to them, as they are every day objects found in almost every household and so the reader knows these characteristics. Last of all the gods to speak about the past and present times in each stanza that helps show the reader the reason for the desertion and that the gods have indeed been slain because their purpose is useless in a broken home. ...read more.

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