"The Raped Girl's Father"

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The Raped Girl's Father "Bones, she was diced-bones rolled on black." The Raped Girl's Father is a disturbing poem about a girl who is "unluckily" raped, and how this brings incredible anger and shame to her father. Written by Bruce Dawe, it contains an inept use of thought, feeling and language. It is an absorbing evocation of the girl's feelings and her horrendous suffering, and how her identity has changed as a consequence of the rape -for herself, her father and society. In the first two lines, an aural image is employed to indicate a never-ending anger in the girl's father. Dawe uses onomatopoeia to create a disturbing and upsetting description of his enraged "buzz-saw whine." An annoying, upsetting sound, it gives the impression of lasting ceaselessly. His anger "rose /murderously in his throat." Because "murderously" begins on a new line, a greater emphasis is placed on it and its evil and destructive connotations. An image of a growling lion stalking its prey is evoked in the reader, as it threateningly snarls from its throat. The girl is terrified as it preys on her persistently "throughout the night." Furthermore, because there is no punctuation, these few lines are without a rest, and when reading out aloud, they cause breathlessness. This suggests that the father's "righteous" fury is ceaseless and suffocating the girl. The girl's mother is associated with comfort and nurturing, embodied in a "honeyed edge of light." As she puts her daughter to bed, she doesn't shut the door, she "close[s] the door to." There are no harsh sounds, compared to the "buzz-saw whine" of the father, as the mother is portrayed in a gentle, positive figure in whom the girl finds solace. However, this "honeyed edge of li... ... middle of paper ... ...rators of the deed, but more importantly a disturbing comparison, for no one would ever `wish' to be raped. Yet, the girl has been tormented to such an extreme and desperate state that she now `wishes' the rapists would "repass, /and at that stage be merciful, take her back." Rather than being raped and alive, preferable to her would be another attack and the comfort of death, to lie "blank-faced, on the grass." Bruce Dawe's purpose is to convey something about rape to the reader. Written from the perspective of a raped girl, his heart-rending poem shares her intense suffering and the terrible impact that rape can have on both the victim and the family. But most importantly, Dawe evocatively comments on the "glare of blindness" that is often shown towards those who have tragically been subjected to rape -and calls for more compassion and understanding from all.

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