In the Park Essay

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Representations of Women In the Park by Gwen Harwood In the Park, by Gwen Harwood, explores the challenges of being a woman. Harwood shines a light on the drudgery of motherhood at a time when society expected mothers to be selfless and have no other goals but child bearing. Harwood wanted to be fulfilled in other ways, including creatively, which is the focus of In the Park. She has used various themes and techniques throughout her poem which I will illustrate in further detail. The concept of changing identity due to motherhood is evident in In the Park. Gwen Harwood illustrates the isolation and loneliness of motherhood and how women of modern times have been neglected. This is evident in the image of the woman who sits in the park and whose “Clothes are out of date”. The passive tone emphasises neglect, loneliness and the lack of care for herself. The poem illustrates a woman who was once so full of potential, evident in “Someone she loved once passes by – too late”, implying she has changed over time and the fact that it is now too late to revert back to her former self or to get back what she once had. The poem shows a woman whose identity has been lost due to her three children. Consequently she is lonely and she has lost interest in herself. The figurative expression “They have eaten me alive” shows only a truth she knows and a truth she is unable to share suggesting that her life and identity have been destroyed by her selfless giving to her children. She believes they are using her for their own survival and in doing so, she is slowly dying inside. Therefore this poem shows changing identity due to motherhood through portraying the mother as a shell of her former self. Gwen Harwood also uses the technique of irony and contrast in her poem to trivialize the role of motherhood. The poem is written in sonnet form, with a regular rhyming

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