Up the Wall Notes

Topics: Sales, Life Pages: 11 (3127 words) Published: June 26, 2012

- portrays domestic life in a suburban setting
- stresses the tensions of that life as experienced by a wife and mother – her life is tedious and filled with petty crises - she finds no joy in her children, who are murderous in their behaviour, she feels “so alone” because she cannot have company because of them - in contrast her husband, who escapes this drudgery and turmoil in the home, thinks that the neighbourhood is “too quiet” - poem closes with the differences between husband and wife unresolved

- every day is the same, full of drama and trauma
- she has no comfort from anything, even the talk back radio - the mothers voice is heard repeatedly, which each of her statements being a cry for help - because her cries aren’t answered we can see that she really is “so alone” - her husband is totally oblivious to her suffering and interprets life in the suburbs entirely differently - “the matter ends” without the couple resolving anything

- in the form of a sonnet, with 14 lines
- highly ordered form of poetry is very ironic because the circumstances being described are disorder and dysfunctional domesticity - onomatopoeia in “shriek” and “screamed”
- simile “like the horizon”
- metaphor “scalpels of their din” (din = noise)
- direct quotation from unnamed woman shows her suffering
- use of 3 exclamation marks suggests a voice and a personality at breaking point - poem ends with phrase: “the matter ends”
o this is ironic because the matter (of family disorder) is not resolved, even though the sonnet is complete

- in the form of a sonnet, ending in a couplet which rhymes, giving the poem a sense of completion - the last 6 lines contain dialogue ( ironic because the dialogue indicates the lack of dialogue “there is no one around here I can call” “I’m so alone” - no dialogue between husband and wife representing the failure of connection between them - she speaks to no one and is alone, he talks to friends – contradicting what she is experiencing and expressing - title is a cliché used to describe someone in a situation of desperation - the “shriek” of the kettle represents the mothers voice - tone of poem is very despairing – “something’s sure to spoil the cloudless day” – saying that there is never a good day in this woman’s life - Dawe exaggerates the situation – technique of LITERARY SATIRE – to caricature and exaggerate social situations for the purpose of criticism - “talk back radio host” represents a form of failed dialogue – only he talks therefore there is no dialogue between people i.e. No conversation - Metaphor – “children carve the mind up with the scalpels of their din” – for the coroners dissection of a corpse - The poem notes that she has not completely lost control: she was nearly driven up the wall, she could have screamed. o These expressions of desperation are brought about by tedious things eg. Phone ringing o To people in such a situation, these crisis’s are huge, but seem trivial to outsiders - Dawe uses her isolation: “there’s no one around I can called if something should go wrong” – to comment on the breakdown in community in contemporary suburban society - The husband praises the “neighbourhood” for the quality that she finds most disturbing: its quietness and absence of people - Ironic that in their home there is nothing but noise, while outside its completely quiet

- Mother/wife has no body around to communicate with
- her loneliness is adding to her desperation and anxiety
- stress coming from children, household and miscommunication with husband


- Verbal onslaught monologue - address by an army officer to his subordinates before battle, preparing them, through vivid language, for the realities of armed combat - sergeant is foul- mouthed,...
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