Gwen Harwood Essay

Gwen Harwood Essay-88
‘The Violets’ explores the nature of memories and the role that they play in comforting one who has experienced loss of change.The image of the violet acts as a catalyst in which she revokes the memories of childhood and her parents love.

Reference to the physical book ‘The Oxford Donne’ offers a tangible image associated with comfort as well as turning to the book throughout life to find comfort ‘ached with aches from adolescence’ and ‘leaps from underlining into my flesh’.

This is suggestive of the role that poetry can play in one’s life, giving comfort and deepening understanding of life.

The contrast is represented by the direct quoting of Lou Salome and St. Lour Salome represents the image of physical love ‘weather I kissed Nietzsche on the Monte Sacro I find I do not now remember’. Theresea who died young and faithful and demonstrated immense dedication and love for God.

Harwood by the use of rhetorical question ‘dear ladies shall we meet halfway between sanctity and liberation?

The shift in time is representative of the change in ones perception of death as the move through life.

The colloquial language and enjambment creates the tone ‘ it will soon be night you goose’ .The tone shifts from sad and melancholy to a resolved certain tone.This reflects the influence that memories have played in deepening the understanding of the individual.This suggests that nothing can change or blur the joyful memories that she had with her parents, before time took them away.Thus reflecting memories as a successful means to finding comfort in dealing with the loss of loved ones.‘The Violets’ explores the relationship between memories and time.That the memories of loved ones can withstand the tests of time and influence ones understanding of death and therefor life. The indents represent a shift in tense for example ‘ambiguous sky/towards nightfall’ this is suggestive that in order to understand the present emotion we need to understand the context of the memory.The inevitability of the approach of death in the poem is seen through the figurative language and simile of sunset images ‘the melting west stripped like ice-cream’ symbolic of the inevitable approach.The connecting image of the violets are used throughout the poem ‘frail melancholy flowers’, ‘spring violets’ and ‘gathered flowers’ these images act as a metaphor representative of the stages of life.This demonstrates the dependence one places on finding solace from once the circumstance of the memory is gone.The nature of the memory is explored and reflected through the enjambment ‘years cannot move, nor deaths disorientating scale distort those lamp lit presence’ the pace is increased as the emotion of the writer accentuates.


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