The Secret Life of Frogs (Poetry by Gwen Harwood) Essay

615 WordsApr 19, 20103 Pages
‘The Secret Life of Frogs’ is a poem that delves into the childhood perception of war, in particular World War I, and the experiences of their fathers. ‘The Secret Life of Frogs’ deals with the idea of misunderstandings incurred when children attempt to understand adult concepts. This is evident through the use of punning. The term ‘Frog’, which is frequently used throughout the poem adds amusement to the text because to the readers, it not only translates literally to a frog, but also represents the rival French people in the war through a negative light. However, the narrator, who is also one of the children in the poem, does not understand this other meaning attached to the term ‘frog’. This can clearly be seen in the final sentence…show more content…
The use of the metaphor ‘Dad the Impaler’, accentuates the idea that children saw this term in a very positive manner when in actual fact it has negative connotations. This highlights the brutality of war, and the negative influence of war on children because the children in the poem used ‘Dad the Impaler’ in a heroic manner. The use of simile in the last stanza ‘matchstick hands as pale as the violet stems they lived among’ is used to compare a frog to violet flowers, which are very delicate and easily broken. The innocence of childhood is painted through this visual technique as the narrator only sees the frogs being very delicate, but to the readers the simile also creates a vivid image of the condition of the ‘Frogs’/ the French. The use of first person helps to create a reminiscent tone about the narrator’s experiences, and further helps to stress the ideas of childhood innocence and the influence of war on children because the poem is written from a child’s perspective. The use of enjambment generates a conversational and personal tone, emphasizing to the readers the reality of the themes discussed throughout the poem. The use of symbolism of frogs as pets and also representing the French highlights the idea that adults saw ‘Frogs’ as insignificant or unworthy to speak about, whereas the children could not understand this adult thought, and they placed exemplary regard to the wellbeing of the

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