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Analysis of Widower in the Country by Les Murray Essay

Les Murray’s poem ‘Widower in the Country’ highlights the painful effect of the death of a loved one. His tone in this poem is one of grief and loneliness, and through strong imagery and emotive language, the composer draws out empathy and interest from the reader. This poem describes how repetitive life becomes after someone very close to you passes away.

The composer conveys a strong feeling of grief and pain in the poem. The composer creates an empathy towards the widower, by expressing just how lonely he feels after his wife had died, and he had to stay in the place that they had shared together. Through the use of multiple metaphors, “The Christmas paddocks aching in the heat/The windless trees, the nettles in the yard” , the composer builds a path into how the widower is ‘aching’ after the grief of losing his wife. ‘windless trees’ implies the feeling of death, as the trees have no leaves, whilst ‘nettles’ evokes the pain and burning he is feeling at this difficult time. The reader realises that this might be a difficult time for the widower, and empathises to attempt to feel what he feels.

Les Murray creates an overall feeling of grief and loneliness throughout his poem. Murray clearly outlines just how much losing a loved one makes you suffer and hurt for a very long time. The poem is structured in a way that establishes the routine of morning, afternoon and evening that widows or widowers are forced through to change their everyday lives to suit after losing their partner. The composer uses enjambment and a metaphor to create this idea. “The roof reflects the sun and makes my eyes / Water and close on bright webbed visions smeared / On the dark of my thoughts to dance and fade away.” Murray makes it easy for the readers to relate to the text by creating a clear empathy for the grief and loss the widower is feeling in the poem. Some people can not regain the strength to lead a normal life after losing those dear to them.

The poem reveals how monotonous life becomes after losing their partner. The widower lives day to day and tries to get through daily life without his partner, but finds that he suffers for it. People who live a monotonous life tend to keep to themselves and may come off as sharp, as they are so stuck to their routine so they don’t have to think about anything other than the work they have to do to avoid the prickly pain. The composer uses repetition “I’ll go,” to reinforce the monotonous, day to day life that widowers lead. “I’ll get up soon, and leave my bed unmade./I’ll go outside and split off kindling wood…” demonstrates the feeling of numbness that the widower feels, and the feeling that he doesn’t want to get out of bed and go and live his life, because he feels as though he can’t live it without his wife.

This poem highlights how a widower leads his life after losing his wife. Murray demonstrates how people in outback Australia deal with loss. The widower is still trying to live through the grief, pain and torture that people suffer after losing their loved ones, and the composer creates a clear empathy towards the widower. The widower leads a monotonous life, and struggles to get through day to day life without his partner. The poem effectively demonstrates how a widower feels after losing their wife, through strong metaphors, emotive language and repetition.


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