Houshold Gods

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“Their life gave our lives meaning, but broken homes will not set again. Their parting was our dissolution, they will never know their household gods are slain.” An intense end to Philip Hobsbaum’s poem ‘Household gods’ which presents the life of a broken home after the people that lived there have parted and left. Through the use of personification, rhyme, punctuation and diction, these small speeches convey the idea of a once happy and lively household now lost and the mournful end it faces. Philip Hobsbaum’s design of structure, punctuation and rhyme establish the furniture’s’ personified being. The poem is divided into nine stanzas, each consist of four lines enclosed by quotation marks to show a different speaker in each stanza. In the first, eighth, and ninth stanza the second and fourth lines rhyme, and these stanzas are spoken by the gods as a group. In stanzas two to seven, they speak as individuals, the first and third lines rhyme as well as the second and fourth. This personification of the gods allow them to identify with the reader at a more personal level and be able to connect with him, The first stanza is spoken by the entire household, describing its role in observing the breaking of the lives of this couple “I saw them. I was there.” The author introduces the poem with a gloomy heavy tone, relying on words such as “breaking,” “distraught,” and “despair.” The couples’ breakup is “mirrored” by the household and foreshadows their future departure. The second and third stanzas are from an individual point of view, they represent some of the couple’s possessions recollecting their joyful past. At first, what seems to be a musical instrument belonging to the woman grieves its disuse, stating that it has “so long been silent” and it laments over the days when her “long fingers once caressed [it].” It also introduces a passionate part of the couple’s relationship previously as it asks: “was that how at one time she touched him?” The third stanza...
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