Metho Drinker

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Under the death of winter’s leaves he lies who cries to Nothing and the terrible night to be his home and bread.

“Metho Drinker” by Judith Wright is a topical poem that raises many issues of modern day society. Homelessness, alcoholism, dependence and addiction. It raises the issue of death as a result of time and addiction.

Without studying the poem in too much depth we can already see these issues on the surface, however when you dig a little deeper the underlying issues also become prevalent.

The poem is written in a way that doesn’t glorify or chastise addiction, but merely sympathises with it. We view the subject of the poem in similar light in which we would view a stray puppy or a lost child. He is helpless and vulnerable, unable to help himself.

Many of the issues within the poem are approached in a metaphorical sense. In my visual representation I have represented three of, what I consider to be, the main issues and ideas. The dead leaves, the eyes and the methylated spirits bottle represent these ideas and issues.

The first issue is death and loss of hope, which is represented by the dead leaves. They are symbolic of death because most often you will find them fallen during winter, which is a time of death and also one of the hardest times for a homeless person on the street. You can also draw parallels between the dead leaves and the man. It is as if they given up on living and so has he, thus uniting them on the ground. Judith Wright also uses dead leaves within the poem, to convey the same idea.

The eyes represent society’s disapproving eyes looking down upon him or choosing to avert their gazes altogether. This becomes painstakingly clear in line 7, where Wright writes, "the cruelty of human eyes that dare not touch nor pity" 
This is saying that the daylight reveals the drinker to society and while people can see him they are taking a blind eye to the problem. If they didn't see him there is no problem for them. Therefore they...
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