Robert Gray Diptych

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Practice Question: From Robert Gray’s poems what do you learn about discoveries through his theme of nostalgia?

Through Robert Gray’s poems Diptych and Late Ferry I have learnt that recalling past events and uncovering a new truth or element to them can inspire discoveries. These recollections are evoked through the nostalgia shown by the speakers in each poem. Although the poems differ in the sense that one speaker purposely remembers the past, as opposed to the other persona that only thinks of the past because they are looking with fear into the future, both poems still illustrate that discoveries can be made through retrospect. In Diptych, Gray (the speaker) is reminiscing about his childhood and his parents, and by doing this he begins to have a better understanding of them. Whereas, in Late Ferry the speaker is watching the demise of warmth associated with earlier times, by looking at a ferry leaving port and venturing into the unknown. Through Gray’s use of various techniques including; sensory imagery, tone and the plurality shown through his preference for similes, he furthered my understanding of the concept of discovery.

In Diptych, Gray explores the concept of discovery through his recollections of his parents, the catalyst for this was the nostalgia for past experiences. The message I believe Gray is conveying through his didactic writing is that relationships are an integral part of discovery. The realization that Gray comes to at the end of the poem is that he judged his parents too harshly and that they were doing as best as they could. Gray uses the idea of the diptych (the two panels joined together by a hinge or clasp and linked through a common idea or theme) as the inspiration for the form. The effect of this is to present the portraits of both his parents separately and to compare and contrast his feelings towards both of them. The first words of his poem “My mother” uses a possessive pronoun and alliteration to indicate the personal

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