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Analysis of Tony Harrison's Poems Essay

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Analysis of Tony Harrison's Poems After reading and analysing the three Tony Harrison poems I found
that, they portray many relationships between families with three
members. In all of the poems Harrison was the son and they talked
about the relationships between him and his father.

The first poem is ‘Book Ends’. This poem shows us how the death of the
mother affects father and son. Throughout the poem, Harrison shows the
broken relationship he has with his father, commenting “We never could
talk much”. His father’s occupation was a baker; this can be seen from
the words related to baking bread. An example can be seen from the
following quote, “Baked the day she suddenly dropped dead”, Harrison’s
father considered labour to be a male occupation., however this was
incorrect as his father was ignorant and used to mock his interest in
poetry and calling him a “scholar”, and making statements about
Harrison being unable to inscribe his feelings on his mother’s
gravestone, “You’re supposed to be the bright boy at description”. His
father’s bitterness towards the poet is a paradox, as he still
requires Harrison to help him through this sad period, “At night you
need my company to pass”. In the last stanza, the father’s ignorant
mind is shown to us poor use of language, according to Harrison, but
the theme of love is introduced as the poet “can’t squeeze more love
into their stone”, which suggests that the poet feels like an outcast
from the family and t...


... middle of paper ...


...ject of death in a way calculated to amuse or entertain.
His startling imagery, for example “chilled dough of his flesh”, “ash
(not unlike flour) for one small loaf”, might raise a smile. Other
lines reveal the misfortune of their lives, for example “Though my
mother was already two years dead Dad kept her slippers warming by the
gas”. This line allows us to feel his father’s broken heart and his
inability to come to terms with loss of his wife. Tony Harrison deals
with the subject of religious beliefs in a decent manner. It is clear
that his parents had conventional beliefs which the poet did not
have. He is “sorry for his sake there’s no Heaven to reach” displays
that Harrison’s parents had hope of entering heaven. The poet makes
his absence of belief by using the following,” I get it all from Earth
my daily bread.


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