Gwen Harwood Notes: the Violets

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English Notes
Textual Integrity
* Textual Integrity is consistency in form, language, and structure. * Form: is the text dedicated to being a historical text, or is it a mish-mash of historical and autobiographical? If it's an autobiography, does it have family photos, family tree? * Language: relates to form. Is it objective all the way? Is it in 3rd person narration all the way? Or does it jump between objectivity and subjectivity? * Structure: is there a sense of progression? Is this progression, more or less, at a constant speed? I.e. not documenting childhood then jumping to old age in the next chapter. * How well a text stands up to different readings.

* Aspects of the texts support a unifying theme and

The Violets:
Themes:
* Consolation that memory provides
* Examination of childhood/The value of a happy childhood/ stable family life * The triggers of memory
* The Losses and gains of humanity and how it’s all part of the human experience. Memory:
Trigger 1: The Violets
* “frail melancholy flowers among ashes and loam”
* The sense of death is introduced in the sadness and frailty of the flowers in the consciousness of the ash and dirt. It is reminiscent of a graveside with freshly dig earth, where a loved one has just been interred. * Memory is “frail”, uncontrollable in when it chooses to return back. * “Melancholy”: transfer of emotion to the violet to personify the violet. * “Ashes and loam”: an echo of the words of an Anglican burial service (ashes to ashes, dust to dust) Trigger 2: The Blackbird

* “While I try whistling a trill, close by his nest our blackbird frets and strops his beak indifferent to Scarlatti’s song.” * Transfer of emotion to the bird.
Features of metaphysical poetry in The Violets:
* First person narrative voice
*
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