In The Park Analysis

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In the park written by Gwen Harwood, was originally written under a male pseudonym. The poem represents the idea of changing identity because of certain circumstances as well as challenging common ideas, paradigms and values & beliefs which is commonly held amongst mothers in today’s society.

Harwood wrote the poem with relatively simple composition techniques but it provides a rather big impact which helps to give an insight into the life of a mother or nurturer which bares the burdens of children.

The title of the poem ‘In The Park’ immediately gives us an image of the geographical landscape in which the poem is set in and from further analysis, the poem is written in a sonnet structure where its 14 lines broken up into two parts of 8 lines and 6 lines with a break in between. Though we normally associate sonnets with romantic love poems, it is a different scenario with this poem as it is slightly ironic because challenges us by attempting to show the negative effects of love where the woman’s life has been destroyed basically due to the children and how love is no longer present in her life.

‘The woman’ of the poem has no specific identity and this helps us even further see the situation in which the woman is experiencing, the lost of one’s identity. Questions start to be raised and we wonder if Harwood uses this character to portray her views of every woman which goes into the stage of motherhood, where much sacrifice is needed one being the identity that was present in society prior to children.

The first 4 lines it is indeed set the in park and Harwood has cleverly chosen the park as the setting of the poem as many people see the park as a mundane, boring place. Our assumptions of the park as a scene is normally ...

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...-lover is in control, the woman is in a total opposite situation and the conversation has reached its limit and the ex-lover is cued to leave in a subtle but quick manner with a ‘departing smile’.

With the final lines give us a better understanding of her situation, where her life has been devoured by the children. As she is nursing the youngest child, that sits staring at her feet, she murmurs into the wind the words “They have eaten me alive.” A hyperbolic statement symbolizing the entrapment she is experiencing in the depressing world of motherhood.

These final words sum up her feeling of helplessness and emptiness. Her identity is destroyed in a way due to having children. We assume change is always positive and for the greater good but Harwood’s poem challenges that embedding change is negative as the woman has gained something but lost so much in return.
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