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Analysis Of Poem ' Sanctuary '

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Analysis of Poem ‘Sanctuary’

This very well-known poem ‘Sanctuary’ was written in the early ‘50s by Judith Wright. Judith was a prolific Australian poet, critic, and short-story writer. She was also an uncompromising environmentalist and social activist campaigning for Aboriginal land rights. She believed that the poet should be concerned with national and social problems. The poem ‘Sanctuary’ was written as a great expression of environmental concern from her. The poem begins with a shocker. Sanctuary, implicitly, is a place of habitation which is safe. However, the first lines of the first stanza, “The road beneath the giant original trees sweeps on and cannot wait” represents a contrast. Here the road is used metaphorically to symbolise today’s modern developments taking place at the cost of all round natural destruction. The poem then unfolds the gloomy mood of the poet in the description of dangerous driving in the night on the road through the Sanctuary to the city: “only the road ahead is true.” In the last line then she is simply sarcastic: “It knows where it is going: we go too.” In fact the road never knows where it is going, but we know where we are going! The poet subtly asks: do we know where we are going by destroying our own habitation, native forests, plants and animals?

A little pondering suggests that the poem has a keen focus on the Australian environment. The poet is successful to grab our attention with descriptive explanation in the line in the
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