Gwen Harwood Essay

1161 Words5 Pages
What Gwen Harwood’s treatment of age and youth allows responders to derive personal understanding of her texts as the universal theme encourages them to draw on their own experiences, values and preconceptions to interpret her poetry. In the poem ‘Glass Jar’, Harwood explores the idea of innocence vs. experience therefore implying that with the loss of innocence vs. experience is gained, highlighted through the use of religious allusions. Similarly in the poem ‘Prize-Giving’ the idea of age and youth is reflected through knowledge vs. creativity, with reference to musical allusions. Through good vs. evil, innocence vs. experience and knowledge vs. creativity, responders are able to create an understanding of texts through their own personal experience. Therefore the recurring ideas of age and youth bring new meaning and significance to the responder. The ‘Glass Jar’ is a poem based on good vs., evil which highlights naivety and innocence vs. experience. Through religious allusion, the idea of age and youth are reflected through the series of events a child undergoes on his journey from innocent to experience. The use of a homophone in ‘Sun’s disciples’ shows the child’s faith in the light, a reference to Harwood’s strong belief in the Christian faith and to another recurring theme in her poetry. References to religious ideas conveys the faith and loss of faith the boy has while learning new things, ‘wink and laugh’ symbolic of a mockery of his faith. Age and Youth deliberately portray the naive boy as vulnerable and pure but through the perspective of age; it creates a link to the responder. The poem relies on allusions and different layers of meaning, which removes literary barriers between the compare and its responders. ‘Pincer and claw, trident and vampire fang envenomed’ are universal images which evoke fear, these images portray the lack of security the child
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