Gwen Harwood: Changing Of The Self Essay

Decent Essays

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, usually in the form of a person or an event. These changes are either results of a dramatic realisation, as seen with shattering of a child’s hopes in The Glass Jar, or a melancholy and gradual process, where a series of not so obvious discoveries produces similar reformation. An example of the later case would be Nightfall, the second section of Father and Child, where the persona refers to her forty years of life causing “maturation”. For the most part these changes are not narrated directly but are represented by using dynamic language …show more content…

It is here that he is again reminded that “his rival” and contender for the love of his mother, has been taken preference on, and his plight is ignored.

The readers will now clearly see through his “secret hate,” even if there is no evidence that the boy himself has realised consciously that it is directed towards his father. Defeated and in anguish he returns to his nightmares. This time round the dreams become more definitive. The father appears, conducting the dance of death and actually directing the monsters that haunt him. This shows that his subliminal self has learned, to some extent, the cause of his pain, even if he is still hasn’t managed to consciously comprehend the events.

The early learning processes of the young are potrayed more adequately in the poem Father and Child where an older child, this time a girl at a rebellious age, experiments with the constraints of authority in an attempt to seek control for herself. This experimentation leads to an important discovery in her life; death is real and unclean. Just like The Glass Jar, the allusions to nature show the certainly of change and setting the tone for the events.

“Daybreak; the household slept. I rose… I crept out with my father’s gun. Let him dream…” Using such highly narrative fast paced (an illusion created by delivering it in pulses) and confident language to show the single mindedness of the young, Harwood

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