Alter Ego

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"Alter ego"

Alter ego, by Gwen Harwood, is a poem about self discovery through inner journey and spiritual realization. This poem tries to tell the audience about her attempted journey to self discovery. Harwood uses natural references, feminist points of view and even a possible religious telling to the poem. This shows the audience that Harwood acknowledges and explores her inner self, or alter ego, in many different aspects. But the main question Harwood raises is "Who am I?"

An ‘alter ego' is defined as; ‘a very close and trusted friend who seems almost a part of yourself'. Harwood describes the alter ego as a part of herself that has personal and complete knowledge of her yet her understanding of this ‘other self' does not fully exist. The speaker expresses a longing for a ‘wholeness' to understand this ‘alter ego'. This is suggesting that to know herself fully there needs to be a resolution between her ego and alter ego.

‘Alter Ego' is written in first person, however there is some evidence that she actually might not be talking about herself directly, ‘whose pulse is mine', this leaves the audience to ponder the poets choice of words. The poem can be interpreted from a number of ways a feminist reading, spiritual (or religious) reading or a psycho-analytical reading. Each of these gives the poem a different meaning and different perspective of the poet's life.

The feminist reading of this poem is due to the fact that Harwood had some strong feminists in her immediate family. Her mother and grandmother were quite strong women and often protested for equal rights, Harwood was presumed to take most of this role from her mother. In the poem, Harwood compares herself to Mozart, this comparison shows the audience her feminist views that only men are allowed to be creative. This comparison also shows her view of how men are more dominant in society. The disadvantages that Harwood is expressing is that a woman must be a wife and a mother before she...
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