Judith Beveridge

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Judith Beveridge is an Australian poet well known for her skill in illuminating humanity through the means of the natural world in poems such as The Two Brothers and Fox in a Tree Stump. Beveridge uses techniques such as personification of nature to show the contradictions of how innocent yet destructive humanity can be.

As a feminist poet, Beveridge commonly expresses the characters in stereotypical roles in a manner of females being innocent and kind whereas males are destructive and harsh.

In the poem The Two Brothers, these stereotypical roles are displayed through young children. In this poem, a young girl is being taunted by two young brothers, hence the name of the poem.

The young girl is seen as sensitive and heroic as she tries to hide the snails and other creatures as she believes they are worthy of salvation as they are being killed by the brothers. Beveridge has used personification to express the innocence and kindness of the snails by writing “the snails never needed more than a single leaf to paint picture books for a child” lines 9-10.

The snails are also expressed as magical in the metaphor “the two wands at their heads, touching” in line 10. In contrast, Beveridge demonstrates the brutality of the brothers after the bothers purposely kill the snails by placing salt on them in stanza 5. Similes are used such as “the snails boil and froth like illicit stills” in line 19.

By the effect of enlightening the young girl and the creatures, the brothers are highly more portrayed as destructive and harmful and so the death of the creatures seem to be more cruel. Thus Judith Beveridge uses this poem to express light and darkness of humanity by using stereotypical gender roles.

Another poem Judith Beveridge has written to illuminate humanity is Fox in a Tree Stump. This poem is quite similar to The Two Brothers as it also has a stereotypical gender role for the characters and combines childhood innocence, human cruelty and the natural...
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