Using ‘Ruins of a Great House’ and One Other Poem

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Using ‘Ruins of a Great House’ and one other poem, which you have studied, compare and contrast how poets present a sense of place.

A sense of place can be defined and can be used in many different ways by various different people. To some, it is a characteristic that some places have and some do not, while to others it is a feeling or perception held by people and not by the place itself. It is often used in relation to those characteristics that make a place special or unique, as well as to those that adopt a sense of dependable human attachment and belonging. Homes are often regarded as a place where people get attached and build relationships with their homes. They are often where most feel a sense of place. It is why most regard their home not as a house, but as a home where they have built memories, but not always good ones.

We can see that in ‘Ruins of a Great House’ and ‘The House’ already there isn’t a sense of place that the poet is giving to the reader in the title. The fact that both poems are regarded as houses and not homes already tells the reader that these buildings are not full of fond and happy memories and also shows detachment. We see this detachment in ‘The House’ where Matthew Sweeney uses many techniques such as alliteration, tone, certain sounds and a specific choice of words. However, throughout the poem, the poet never tells us his opinion of the house. He only describes it as it is. The poet never tells us whether he likes the house or whether he simply hated the house. He only tells us what it had, what it looked like and that he grew up there. In a way, this is good for the reader because it allows the reader to use his/her imagination and to read the poem carefully and form his/her own opinions on what the boy thought of the house. For example, "The house had a dozen bedrooms, each of them cold and the wind battered the windows..." Again the poet is telling us about the house, not his opinion of the house and this creates an...
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