Nostalgia And Morality In Gwen Harwood's Poetry

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Good afternoon and welcome to the Critical Study of Texts Academic Forum. Today I will discuss how Gwen Harwood’s poems are valued through the challenging ideas of nostalgia and morality. Memory is a significant motif throughout Harwood’s poetry. Memory can be subjective, fickle and unreliable as demonstrated in ‘The Violets’. The memory process is so powerful as to superimpose images of the past on to the present colouring a faded and melancholy world. By stating that “years cannot move nor death’s distorting scale distort those lamplit presences”, Harwood suggests that the memory of Violets as a symbol of faithfulness, constancy and modesty can continuously fulfil. Emotional qualities are shared between the past and present: a sense…show more content…
This evokes our emotion towards the ‘I’ as we can identify and engage by replacing this with our self. This strong sense of feeling, relationship and engagement to the poem emphasis’s our own emotions. ‘I kneel to pick frail melancholy flowers among ashes and loam,’ puts us in the same, dull, lifeless position as the narrator. We have this strong sense of empathy with and compassion towards her. At Mornington also makes use of first person used with an intimate use of personal pronoun “I” which enables reader to witness the changes in…show more content…
The effect of the long stanzas on responders reflects the passing of time and the flooding memories. Memories triggered by the meeting a childhood friend and the realisation that the person can transcend death because of memories, love, family and friendship. Love and friendships enshrined in memory will protect the persona against time and mortality. No change has occurred in the persona’s stubborn and determined nature — “I could walk on water” to “in airy defiance of nature”. However, she now realises that “no hand will save her”, but the poem ends in peace and acceptance, as death will be followed by eternity - “waters that bear me away forever”. The poem contrasts the unthinking impulses of childhood with the reflective appreciation of middle age. Death has been placed in perspective as only one aspect of life and memories and friendship enable people to transcend death. The poetic voice acknowledges the true value of friendship. There are images of change such as Harwood as a child, carefree and confident to a middle aged person with an aging body — “when our bones begin to wear
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