Analysis Of The Poem ' Barn Owl ' Essay

1019 Words Aug 29th, 2015 5 Pages
Empowering poetry allows a poet to relate to their audience through universal ideas of death and loss and the consolation brought by childhood memories. Gwen Harwood’s Father and Child and focuses on a recollection of childhood memories that deeply impacted her perspective on mortality and her relationship with her father. The mirroring structure of the Father and Child depicts a complete role reversal between the persona and her father, showing a switch in comforting each other in the face of death. Part two, Nightfall, opens with a general atmosphere of nostalgia, as the persona, not longer a child, reflects on her fathers approaching death. These notions evoke empathy which allows Harwood to connect with her audience by teaching them how to cope with negative experiences later on in life through memory.

Part one of Father and Child, ‘Barn Owl’, explores the impact of life-changing experiences, such as the loss of innocence due to the deliberate killing of a bird, and how it can be an important memory later on in life as it provides insight into dealing with negative experiences. The poem opens with ‘daybreak’, foreshadowing an awakening to come, and ‘blessed by the sun’ symbolises the dawning of new knowledge. The persona, a young child, uses an arrogant tone by referring to herself as a ‘wisp-haired judge’ and ‘master of life and death’. Here, the use of binary opposites is symbolic of light and dark and the cyclical nature of death. This godlike and authoritative…

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