Analysis Of Gwen Harwood 's Poetry

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Gwen Harwood, a contemporary female poet, born in Brisbane Australia in the 1920 's, wrote her poetry during a time where Australian society held dominant gender ideologies that focused on domesticating women. A widely held belief of a passive, nurturing mother figure who looked after her children and complied with her duties as a 'house-wife ', whilst men were viewed as the sole source of income and had a minimal nurturing role with children, was shared, along with ideas of male superiority, and of masculine qualities being superior to feminine qualities, both of which were only expected to be embodied by males and females respectively. The construction of people, places and institutions through poetic conventions in Harwood 's poetry allows the audience to identify these cultural beliefs in conventional gender roles and expectations within 1950 's Australian society in particular. These constructions critique the attitudes and values of the time, especially where women are concerned, and thus position the audience to reject the patriarchal assumptions of the time. Her poems Suburban Sonnet and Prize Giving are can be perceived as radical interpretations and criticisms of the views of the time they were written in, and attest to Harwood 's own beliefs of female independence and placing value on feminine and masculine roles and qualities equally. Harwood grew up with the main female figures in her life being her mother and grandmother, who were both very independent; her

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