The Violets Gwen Hardwood Analysis

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Gwen Hardwood The emotive qualities of Gwen Harwood’s poetry resonate with her readers. She uses her own memories to illustrate love for her family, her loss of innocence and the swiftness of time passing. She demonstrates this in her poems Father and Child, The Violets and At Mornington. The poem The Violets opens with the line “It is dusk and cold,” the time of day symbolising that this persona has reached old age and is metaphorically drawing closer to nightfall or the end of her days. Death is made apparent with the negative adjective “cold.” The flowers she is picking at the beginning of this poem are clearly what stimulate her memory of childhood as they are referenced later in the poem. Their description as “frail” and “melancholy”…show more content…
Just as she used time of day in The Violets, she uses seasons to symbolise a time in her life. Autumn symbolises her middle age. In this stanza she paints a grim picture of her innocence lost as she has become aware of age and death by saying “we stand, two friends of middle age by your parents’ grave in silence among the avenues of the dead.” The reason she has chosen to set this part of the poem at the grave of her friend’s parents because of her love for her own parents, and she deeply empathises with her friend’s loss. It is typical in her poetry that, when the present becomes too miserable, Harwood will transcend the current time and return to a happier memory. However in this poem she cannot find a happier memory and recalls a dream instead, “I dreamed once long ago, that we walked among day-bright flowers.” Her use of positive imagery such as the “day-bright flowers” lightens the mood and achieves the same effect of the memories in The Violets, as she stops thinking of death and causes the reader to forget the unhappy nature of the initial memory and be emotionally moved by the warmth of the following memory where she is “secure in my father’s arms.” In her poems The Violets, Father and Child and At Mornington Gwen Harwood demonstrates through her use of memories, her loss of innocence, the love for her parents and how quickly time moves. Her memories also serve to engage the reader and make us feel her sense of happiness, sorrow and
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