Gwen Harwood Essay

1160 WordsMay 10, 20135 Pages
MODULE B: GWEN HARWOOD Opportunities for an individual to develop understanding of themselves stem from the experiences attained on their journey through life. The elements which contribute to life are explored throughout Gwen Harwood’s poems, At Mornington and Mother Who Gave Me Life, where the recollection of various events are presented as influences on the individual’s perception of the continuity of life. Both poems examine the connections between people and death in relation to personal connections with the persona’s father or mother. By encompassing aspects of human nature and life’s journey, Harwood addresses memories and relationships which contribute to one’s awareness of life. Memories and meandering thoughts, related to…show more content…
In Father and Child, as the persona moves on from childhood, her father becomes elderly and is entertained by simple things in nature, “birds, flowers, shivery-grass.” These symbols of nature remind the persona of the inconsistency of life and the certainty of death, “sunset exalts its known symbols of transience,” where sunset represents time. Both poems are indicative of the impermanence of life and that the persona has managed to mature and grow beyond the initial fearlessness of childhood moving onto a sophisticated understanding of death. The connection between life and death is expressed in a different way through Mother Who Gave Me Life, a poem of mourning for the dead. The poem can be seen as a personal farewell to the persona’s mother where the dominant images of the poem show evolution and the passing of time. Father and Child also demonstrates the passing of time as the persona moves from the innocence of childhood to the sadness of her father’s advancing age and inevitable passing. In Mother Who Gave Me Life, the reference to Halley’s Comet, which appears only once every seventy-six years, tells the reader that the mother was unable to see it once more before surrendering to death. The direct speech of the Sister is reported without the use of quotation marks as in, “When she died she was folding a little towel.” This
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