In 'The Glass Jar', Harwood uses the contrast between light and dark, good and evil through dealing with an individual's perception of the universe and the notion of children learning through experience during the transformation from childhood innocence to adulthood. The sun is used as a symbol for security and plays the role as a saviour. Religious imagery such as “disciples” is used to express the child’s faith and belief in the “pulse of light beside his bed”. The use of the word “pulse” is significant as it presents the “light” as a form of life. The boy’s faith is conveyed in the use of the words “bless” and “exorcise” which is the power the boy believes the light has to overcome the “monsters that ringed his bed” and create a “holy common place of field and flower”. The use of the oxymoron is significant as the boy attempts to make an ordinary children’s bedroom a sacred place where demons are unwelcome and where he will be safe. The holy and religious images of the first two stanzas contrast with the devilish images in the following stanzas. In the last stanza the words “resurrected sun” is also a religious imagery of the resurrection of Christ and it symbolises that hope isn’t lost for the sun has risen again to save the child and banish his fears. This poem mocks traditional conventions of religion and family through the fact that the mother has her back turned when the boy needs her, creating a sense of betrayal and false hope in God.
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