Judith Wright Essay

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Poetry Essay

Poetry provides a deeper understanding of multiple ideas, and stimulates our mind in ways other mediums cannot, bringing forth undiluted emotion directly from the poet's mind. Our ability to think and react to stimuli in a poem depends on the poet’s feelings toward the text and how they express this through the light and dark imagery in their poems, the structure in which the author chooses to write their ideas in and simply the love an author conveys through their work. Judith Wright, an Australian poet and environmentalist expresses these thoughts with her 1950's poems 'Sanctuary' and 'South of My Days,' which both tell of the Australian landscape and Wright's thoughts and feelings on the country she grew up in.

Judith Wright presents vivid and forward-thinking imagery in her poems, using light and dark tones (both figuratively and literally) to communicate her feelings toward the environment. 'Sanctuary' and 'South of My Days' both predominately convey darker imagery, with 'Sanctuary's' 'flat skins pinned to the road' and the 'black-frost night' of 'South of My Days.' Wright's message of the possible doomed future we seem to be taking ourselves into is unusual for the 1950's time of writing – people of the time were more lenient in littering and pollution than today. The light and dark imagery in 'Sanctuary' confirm this theory of an Australia being lured away from its roots. The 'axe new-boy' cutting down the 'old-gnome tree' represents the uninformed Australia not altering its approach towards the environment. This is in stark contrast with 'South of My Days' which describes the old Australia with 'low trees blue-leaved and olive' and 'the slope of medlar and crab apple.' These lighter images suggest that Wright is telling the reader there is still a chance for redemption, that Australia can return to its roots. 'Sanctuary' takes part in this as well, but in a more subtle way; whenever nature is mentioned in a positive light, enjambment...
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