Judith Wright Essay

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Judith Wright is a prominent figure in Australian literature, as well as an environmentalist and social activist. This plays a major role in her various collections of poems, where she explores both national and personal concerns. These include her fight for Aboriginal land rights, as well as personal experiences such as pregnancy and motherhood. Through her poetry, Wright is able to give voice to the interest of social groups who are often denied one.  

Wright’s poem “Woman to Child” primarily focuses on very personal matters. An intense lyric style is used to convey the process of childbirth and her view on motherhood. These concerns are represented through techniques such as persona, figurative language, structure and rhythm. The use of a first person, female persona is significant in this particular poem. An intimate and caring voice is used to express the life-changing and wonderful process of birth and the joyful feelings associated with motherhood.  

The poem is divided into four stanzas of equal length to embody the different stages of pregnancy and childbirth. The feminine and private processes of fertilisation, the different stages of pregnancy and finally labour and childbirth, are represented in each stanza. The first stanza portrays the fertilisation phase as shown from the usage of the word “seed” which connotes a child embryo. In the second stanza, it moves into the initial stages of pregnancy where vivid imagery and personification are used to express the delightful and fulfilling experience. The womb is described as a place where “there moved the multitudinous stars, /and coloured birds and fishes moved”. This creates an idyllic scene, which is representative of the persona’s inner joy and satisfaction. The later stages of pregnancy are shown towards the third stanza, where the mother shows an intense emotional and physical attachment to her baby. The mother finally gives birth in the last stanza. The persona embraces motherhood here stating “I...
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