Three poems written by Harwood that emphasise the idea of memory’s importance and its ability to alter and determine perceptions are ‘Father and Child’, ‘The Violets’ and ‘At Mornington’. Each of these poems reminisces on pivotal experiences that modify one’s assessment of death, life, relationships, experiences and knowledge secured through memory.
Harwood uses the line, “they told me”, in ‘At Mornington’ to emphasise its reflective quality, expressing that this memory is a memory she herself may not necessarily remember vividly, but has been told of it by her parents. The persona of the poem, created by Harwood, believes she can “walk on water” and that “it was only a matter of balance”; signifying the naive belief of her youth that she can is capable of such defiance, yet this defiance is later juxtaposed by the reality that nature will inevitably leave its impression through the metaphor “our skin begins to wear”. Harwood uses such juxtaposition to highlight that through this memory, she can see that with age, has come knowledge.
In contrast to ‘At Mornington’, ‘Father and Child’ is used to convey a more vivid and disturbing story of how past experiences can alter a person’s present and future. The child’s sex is left ambiguous, and only through intertextuality with Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’ can it be said that the ‘child’ is female as to follow the father-daughter storyline of the play. Harwood has stated that this poem is not autobiographical, yet it is rather symbolic of past... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2010, 10). Gwen Harwood - Power of Memory.. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 2010, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Gwen-Harwood-Power-Of-Memory-431078.html
"Gwen Harwood - Power of Memory." StudyMode.com. 10 2010. 10 2010 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Gwen-Harwood-Power-Of-Memory-431078.html>.
"Gwen Harwood - Power of Memory.." StudyMode.com. 10, 2010. Accessed 10, 2010. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Gwen-Harwood-Power-Of-Memory-431078.html.