'the Glass Jar' by Gwen Harwood and 'Ariel' by Sylvia Plath Speech

Topics: Poetry, Stanza, Feminism Pages: 3 (1169 words) Published: March 23, 2011
So we ask ourselves, how does poetry gain its power? To answer this question, we examine the work of poets Harwood and Plath. ‘The Glass Jar’, composed by Gwen Harwood portrays its message through the emotions of a young child, while the poem ‘Ariel’, written by Sylvia Plath, makes effective use of emotions to convey artistic creativity and inspiration. Through my personal reading of Harwood’s poem ‘The Glass Jar’, I view it as an examination of maturation – the inevitable change driven by painful experience. The title itself is symbolic of the fragility of childhood and innocence. The author believes that the destruction of the young child’s naïve, beautiful world of ‘field and flower’ is inevitable. She believes that his simplistic, protected world MUST be surrendered to the uncertainty and pain of adulthood. We see that the child’s innocent idealistic world is contrasted with his fear of ‘dream and darkness’. This poem gains its power through the child’s fear, which he attempts to overcome by trapping sunlight in a glass jar. The sun is used alongside biblical intertextuality as a pun to the ‘the resurrected [son]’ Jesus Christ, who throughout his life ‘blessed’ and ‘exorcised monsters’ and demons, together with ‘the [sons] disciples’. Biblical reference is further used throughout the poem to parallel the story of Jesus’ suffering and resurrection with the child‘s painful experience, causing maturation and his awakening the following day in a new consciousness. In the third stanza, brutal imagery of ‘pincer and claw, trident and vampire fang’ is used to describe the child‘s disturbing ‘mosaic vision’. He awakens and reaches for his jar of light – his ‘monstrance’. Emotive words such as ‘fear’, ‘trembling’ and ‘sobbing’ are used to gain power as the child realises his loss, running to ‘the last clearing that he dared not cross’. Words throughout the poem including ‘pierce’, ‘grope’ and ‘embrace’ are suggestive of sexual activity, which the child views as ‘gross...
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