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Father & Child By Gwen Harwood

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Jess Jenkins

on 26 February 2014

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Transcript of Father & Child By Gwen Harwood

Summary Of 'Nightfall'
Second Part of the poem
Continues the story of the father and Child forty years later
Represents death closing in on the Father
Limitations on Life
Reversal of roles is a contrast to the first part of the diptych
Father & Child By Gwen Harwood
Summary Of 'Barn Owl'
- Poem begins with a young child waking up in the morning.
- The persona, how we presume to be a girl, feels the consequences of her action
The movement from innocences to experience.
- A movement that was influences by the romantic poet, such as William Blake.

Analysis Of Stanza's 1 &2
Daybreak: The Househould slept.
I rose, blessed by the sun.
A Horny fiend, I crept
out with my father's gun.
Let him dream of a child
obedient, angel-mind-

old no-slayer, robbed of power
by sleep. I knew my prize
who swooped home at this hour
with day light riddled eyes
to his place on a high beam
in our old stables, to dream
Stanza's 3 & 4
light's useless time away.
I stood, holding my breath,
in urine-scented hay,
master of life and death,
a wisp-haired judge whose law
would punish beak and claw.

My first shot struck. He swayed,
ruined, beating his only
wing, as I watched, afraid
by the fallen gun, a lonely
child who believed death clean
and final, not this obscene
Stanza's 5 & 6
bundle of stuff that dropped,
and dribbled through the loose straw
tangling in bowels, and hopped
blindly closer. I saw
those eyes that did not see
mirror my cruelty

while the wrecked thing that could
not bear the light nor hide
hobbled in its own blood.
My father reached my side,
gave me the fallen gun.
'End what you have begun.'

- Made up of two poem Barn Owl and Nightfall.
- shows the altered world that has appeared within the persona
- Diptych compares past and present and depicts the changes that have happened
- Harwood draws on memories from her childhood
- Poem is influenced by her life experiences, childhood and family relationships.

Seven stanza's
Regular rhythm and Rhyme Scheme
Conveys the growth of a person from naivety to maturity
Journey from innocence to Experience.
Theatrical Elements:
Time of day
Analysis Of Stanza's
One & Two
Forty years, lived or dreamed:
what memories pack them home.
Now the season that seemed
incredible is come.
Father and child, we stand
in time's long-promised land.

Since there's no more to taste
ripeness is plainly all.
Father, we pick our last
fruits of the temporal.
Eighty years old, you take
this late walk for my sake.
Three & Four
Who can be what you were?
Link your dry hand in mine,
my stick-thin comforter.
Far distant suburbs shine
with great simplicities.
Birds crowd in flowering trees,

sunset exalts its known
symbols of transience.
Your passionate face is grown
to ancient innocence.
Let us walk this hour
as if death had no power.

Five & Six
or were no more than sleep.
Things truly named can never
vanish from earth. You keep
a child's delight for ever
in birds, flowers, shivery-grass -
I name them as we pass.

"Be your tears wet?" You speak
as if air touched a string
near-breaking point. Your cheek
brushes on mine. Old king
your marvellous journey's done.
Your night and day are one
as you find with your white stick
the path on which you turn
home with the child once quick
to mischief, grown to learn
what sorrows, in the end,
no words, no tears can mend.
Stanza Seven
I fired. The blank eyes shone
once into mine, and slept.
I leaned my head upon
my father's arm, and wept,
owl blind in early sun
for what I had begun
Regular Rhyme and Rhythm patterns
Starts out like a fairy tale showing how young the persona is
Religious Connotations are shown throughout the poem
Child looks down at father
Descriptive detail
Youth of child is shown
Dense Atmosphere
Paused Effect
Showing her youth

Shock brings a reality check
Enjambment - Showing her P.O.V has changed and How confused she is (Youth)
The Intrusion of direct speech makes it stand out from the poem
Movement from innocence to experience
Father is teaching his child life lessons
Two Word Sentence
- Changes the tone as she has lost her innocence
Also Emphasises
the shock value
Shows her youth, Still relies on her father (seeks guidance)
Life goes Quick
Religious Connotation
They are now represented as one and she isn't trying to rebel against him but work more with him
Shows the movement from innocence to experience
First two stanzas show how the relationship between the father & child has changed since Barn Owl

No theatrical Elements
Regular Rhyme & Rhythm
Refers to the fathers satisfaction with how his life was and the happiness that he spends his last moments with his child
(Adam and Eve)
This symbolises the lasting time they have together before the fruit decays
Fathers job is never done. No matter how old they are or if they are dead, they will always care and protect their child
Emphasis about how no one can replace your own father as you have a special connection with them
Imagery- As the father is blind
Her dad is still her comforter
She also respects her father now and she realises how much he did for her when she was young
She compares the rest of her fathers life to a sunset as he doesn't have long left
Doesn't want the thought of death to influence the last memories she will still have with her father
Similar to Oedipus complex where child had a stronger bond with the parent of the opposite sex (father and Daughter)
He has made an impression on his and his influence will always be with her even when he is not there
Death is a factor of life
-This gives you a feeling of Catharsis
As the poem goes on it shows the demonstration of the child's understanding of life and death
String is old and frayed and relates back to the father and his life coming to a end
-Father was superior to his child
Shows he doesn't have much time left and its important that she doesn't waste one minute with him
Shows how he is blind and how much he has to rely on her (reverse role)
The role is now reversed, the father has taught his child all he knows and it's her turn to take care of him
-Family love
- Reverse roles
- Lose of innocence
Childhood to adulthood
Full transcript