Literary Analysis Of Harwood's At The Art Club

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In Harwood’s poem ‘At the Art’s Club’, she explores the pretentious nature of refined members of society who often have false artistic appreciations. The poem is about Kröte, one of the reoccurring characters in Harwood’s poems, performing at an arts club, as the title suggests. However, the irony of the title is that the audience is presented as artistically and musically ignorant, as they are more preoccupied with appearance and fake interactions with one another. The main purpose of the poem is to reveal how pretentious these people at the arts club are, and for Harwood to criticize this aspect of Australians and their false appreciation of art. Other ideas that are explored include appearance versus reality, as well as the base animalistic…show more content…
In the third stanza Kröte is playing purposely to bore the audience, who he knows cannot appreciate what he is playing. The use of the word ‘blur’ shows this, as the audience perceives Kröte’s playing as incomprehensible. The word 'blur' also illustrates how deceiving Kröte is and how ignorant the audience is, as he can ingeniously cover up a mistake with a 'dubious trill'. Having the fourth stanza begin with ‘of something better left alone’ also emphasises how the audience is not willing to discuss and evaluate the music, lest they reveal their ignorance of it. Harwood then says ‘They suffer’, emphasised by the short syntax. This sentence is ambiguous as to who’s suffering; the people or the composers themselves as Kröte is adding his own elements or 'variations' to the music. Kröte’s intentions are stressed with the alliteration of ‘malice’ and ‘more’, as he delights in reversing the power in society by playing his music badly and having no one notice. He even plays the repeats of the pieces through, just to add to the length of his performance, even though in the fifth stanza, the narrator tells us that 'he was expected to perform something short and sweet'. The use of the word ‘expected’ is important, as it shows how Kröte, in not doing what was expected of him, is in defiance of society. In the club, he possesses the power, as the guests cannot leave until he has finished playing. Instead of the clichéd ‘short and sweet’ piece he was meant to play, instead he performed long and, to the musically unappreciative, boring pieces of Brahms and Handel. Moreover, as 'The coffee's made, the supper's warm', the guests are described as ‘ravenous’, and this once again alludes to the base animalistic nature present in all humans. The asyndeton, the absence of conjunction, in
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