Steven Herrick’s verse novel “By the River” is very successful in conveying the significant ideas about human nature. He uses key themes such as grief, environmental influence and coming of age to explore these ideas. To convey the themes Herrick uses multiple techniques such as imagery, repetition, personification and positive and negative influence throughout his text.
Grief is a key theme throughout Herrick’s novel “By the River” highlighting the suffering and distress from losing a loved one. Herrick explores this theme through the death of Harry Hodby’s mother and his close friend Linda. The first element of grief depicted in the novel is shown through the quotes “we sit in the tender shade/leave him to share some time with our mother/his wife. Herrick uses collective nouns in this quote to convey the ownership of the mother that not only does it show her titles but also it shows the roles within their lives. Herrick then uses personification to describe the “tender shade” and how it has a positive connotation displaying his positive outlook on grief. A second element that is depicted throughout Herrick’s novel is shown in the quote “and dad/alone in the kitchen/stirring his tea/until it was cold in the cup” Herrick uses imagery in this quote to display the numbness in his life. By using the theme grief we clearly see the ideas about human nature and how they can have a positive and negative outlook on life.
Steven Herrick explores the idea that environment can define who you are. Herrick uses imagery to show the impact of setting on Harry. He shows Harry’s confusion in the first poem “The Colour of My Town.” Harry shows us the effects the environment of the place he has grown up in has had on his identity. And example of this would be “after listening to all these ugly little voices, I want to run away”. Herrick