In the Park by Gwen Hardwood

847 Words Jun 16th, 2018 4 Pages
Harwood’s “In the Park” describes the bitter frustration of the role of an unidentifiable mother depicted by society. A park creates an image of a relaxing setting, with the isolation of benches and individuals happily strolling about. However, Gwen Harwood’s Petrarchan sonnet, “In the Park”, illustrates the park as a depressing, lonely, and negative atmosphere. The mother’s destruction of identity is renowned through the symbol of time as well as this negative and gloomy imagery. The mother’s frustrations of the societal expectations of motherhood have led to the destruction of her personal identity. Harwood uses the symbol of time to recognize that the mother’s life has become tiring, boring and repetitive and portrays the life of this …show more content…
The ex-lover thinks of his thankfulness to have escaped the past misfortune of the woman and the future of misery that she will endure. The lover also indicates that “Time holds great surprises” (6) meaning that time has brought three children that have taken over, taking the living out of her life, which the lover has so ironically escaped some time ago. Time has resulted in the mother living for the children but not for her own self, resulting in her identity never being recreated. In the sestet, time is shown through “birthdays” (10) and, “watching them grow” (11). This is the first reference of time made in the present and the future tense. It is the first positive point in reference to time rather then the conversation of escape and regret of the past. It shows the attempt of the mother’s display of false happiness in present time as she sits in the park. She struggles to reassure herself, while trying to convince the lover that her future will be content, ideally giving herself a false identity. Throughout the poem the use of time as a symbol of identity obliteration promotes the high expected potential of mothers, set by society.
The mother’s struggle for identity is also presented through the poem’s depressing imagery as well as the figurative and literal language. The first quatrain states the sad, regretful statement of “too late” (4). This imagery of loneliness is reflected upon the passion and pain involved with her once lover. When the