Harwood’s elegy Mother Who Gave Me Life nostalgically explores the confronting concepts of the unavoidability of death and past bleak memories. Harwood explains explores the fragility e nature of life through the fabric motif symbolism; “fine threadbare linen” depicting symbolising the frailty image of her mother and the inevitability of her demise. Similarly, the reminiscent cosmic and iconic imagery depicts the futile effort to extend life “I prayed you would see live to see Halley’s Comet a second time.
Furthermore, the reference to Halley’s Comet informs the audience of the persona’s short-lived hope for human immortality, on to be brought back to the reality of death. In addition, the author speaks ofoutlines a cycle of death and the continuity of life, shown through repetition that is as perpetuated through motherhood shown through repetition; “I think of women bearing women” which utilises gender specific diction to highlight the significance of women as a .
Thus, the cycle of women bearing women is shown as a symbol of life and continuity. Likewise, through cumulative listing, Harwood provides an insight into the human history of motherhood, noting that that it transcends all temporal restraints indicated through cumulative listing “your mother, and hers and beyond”, and its ability to never cease. Though Harwood constantly implies of her desire to be able to extend life she acknowledges that in reality death is inevitable through the use of elegiac language; “you left the world so”.
Finally through elemental references and natural imagery, Motherhood is portrayed to be infinite and as the link between prehistoric and current epochs elucidated through elemental references and natural imagery; “ice, rock, fire. ” Hence, through the use of a variety of language techniques, Harwood is able to explore the challenging images of the inevitability of mortality through its inevitable nature whilst offering nostalgic recollections of her mother to signify the mportance of motherhood in establishing the continuity of life providing reader’s with a valued text. and cycle of mournful self-reflective thoughts through the use of motherhood, providing a valued text. The ode style poem Harwood’s diptich poem, Father and Child, investigates the notion centrality of seminal experiences in shaping one’s understanding of of a melancholic longing for the past whilst simultaneously acknowledging the inevitability of death through the rhyming pattern of its stanza, hence creating a valued text for the audience reader.
The idea of childlike innocence and naivety immortality is expressed through the masculine diction “master of life and death” and power metaphor “a wisp-haired judge” exposing the child as an self-proclaimed vigilante. However, the self vilification of the child upon the his shooting of the owl is, expressed through a woeful reminiscent self reflection; “mirror my cruelty”. This portrayings the confronting topic of mortality through the physical pain of the owl and the emotional torment of the child.
Another memory that highlights the both the challenging concepts of nostalgia and death, is the symbolic death of the child’s innocence demonstrated in the juxtaposition; “a lonely child who believe death clean and final, not this obscene. ” Hence, this shows the naivety of the child, and the stinging memory of an un-romanticized death that has remained. Finally through the use of empathic language, the child’s harsh epiphany is shown “I… wept, owl blind in the early sun. This implying lies the persona’s is transformation to show a new appreciation for morality. In “Nightfall” the second part of the poem the persona uses a collective pronoun to depict togetherness as a notion of eternity which transcends earthly beings; “we stand in time’s long promised land. ” The nostalgic tone presents the audience with Harwood’s perspective of the unyielding process of time and the inevitability of death.
This notion is emphasised through parallelism; “we pick our last fruits”, hence utilising showing the reader of the organic discourse which to presents the comparison of the ripeness of fruit to the infinite life cycle of birth and decay. Furthermore, inevitability of death is illuminated through past tense of the self reflective question “Who can be what you were? ” implying that persona’s father has ceased to exist. Through the character of the child, it is clearly evident that the poem Father and Child explores the challenging ideas of nostalgia and mortality making the texts valued in the eyes of the reader.
Courtney from Study Moose
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