Gwen Harwood "Father and Child"

Topics: Question, Life, Figure of speech Pages: 2 (610 words) Published: May 30, 2014
The poem “Father and Child” by Gwen Harwood shows Harwood’s father teaching her the concepts of life and death, from when she is a young child in “Barn Owl” up to when she is around forty at the time of his death in “Nightfall”, coming to accept the idea that life is not never-ending. In part one called “Barn Owl”; she has learnt to accept death as a component of life. The persona of the poem experiences a loss of innocence with the discovery of the tragedy of death. Before shooting the owl, the child believes they are the “master of life and death,” with the noun, “master,” reflecting the power that the child feels and the ignorance that the child has about the nature of death. This description of the child is later contrasted in the fourth stanza, “I watched, afraid by the fallen gun, a lonely child who believed death clean and final, not this obscene bundle of stuff.” The emotive term, “afraid,” represents the change in the persona’s attitude after being exposed to the harsh reality that is mortality. However, the rhyme and last line “what sorrows in the end, no words, no tears can mend” releases an element of inexpressible sadness that she has towards the death of her father showing that although she accepts death, it still upsets her as it did in “Barn Owl”. Father and Child” Nightfall” is more metaphorical and symbolic suggesting a more mature persona like an adult. The poem represents a human’s journey over time of learning to mature and accept death. The poem “Father and Child” explores the reversing roles of fathers and children’s roles as time goes on. Nightfall” is more metaphorical and symbolic suggesting a more mature persona like an adult, and is about a child grown to adult age spending time with her father before he dies. The symbolism of the imagery presented through the poem is of the passing of time, this is shown in words like “temporal”, “transience”, “late”, “night and day”, “grown” and “ancient”, this represents the ageing of the father...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Gwen Harwood (Father and Child Dyptych) Essay
  • Gwen Harwood- Father and Child Essay
  • Harwood Notes- Father and Child Essay
  • Gwen Harwood Essay
  • gwen harwood Essay
  • Gwen Harwood Essay
  • Gwen Harwood Essay
  • Gwen Harwood Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free