The Violets By Gwen Harwood Essay

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Gwen Harwood’s poems ‘At Mornington’ and ‘The Violets’ mirror ideas of circulatory nature of life and relationships between contrasting themes. Through images and references to certain motifs, two distinct stories and journeys are reflected, ‘At Mornington’s’ journey of life and death, and ‘The Violets’ story of the squandering of opportunities. The portrayal of certain voices and the displaying of contrasting ideas, the two poems have both similar and dissimilar aspects.
Gwen Harwood uses two contrasting personae’s in ‘The Violets’ and a broadening, progressive voice throughout ‘At Mornington’ to reflect the journey of both narrators. Through the use of first-person narration, ‘The Violets’ emerges with a cold, brittle attitude emphasised through short, sharp sentences. “The melting west is striped like ice-cream.” (TV.1.3). As the poem progresses, the communication of the contrasts into a more desolate, melancholy way of vocalisation. The merging into the more ambiguous section of the text, the narrator changes vocal tone, but remains to narrator from a …show more content…

During ‘At Mornington’, the narrator references an ambiguous memory of them as a child, “believing … [they] could walk on water” (AM.1.10). This belief is dramatically altered as the narrator ages. They learn of death and further learn to accept its entirety; “The peace of this day will shine like light on the face of the waters that bear me away forever” (AM.5.10). This theme is also reflected throughout ‘The Violets’. At the beginning of the second stanza, the narrator awakes “from [a] … half-sleep” (TV.2.1) commence their day/life. Their mother indicates that “it will soon be night, you goose” (TV.2.5), “goose” referencing the narrator as a child. As they age, the day turns to night, the narrator begins to regret her wasteful actions “us[ing] [her] tears to scold” (TV.3.6).

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