In Home of Mercy How Does Harwood Highlight the Repression of Females Within Society?

850 Words Jul 25th, 2013 4 Pages
Gwen Harwood sent a hostile message to the Bulletin Newspaper in 1961. This was a protest against, what Harwood believed to be, an inherent sexism within the journalistic sphere.

In Home of Mercy how does Harwood highlight the repression of females within society?

Gwen Harwood underlines the repression of women within society in Home of Mercy by expressing the restrictions that these girls face. The poem brings forward the way society view young females in the 1960s that act ‘indecently’ in societies view. Harwood is opposed to these views and believes that injustice has been done to these girls simply because they are not in a ‘traditional’ and ‘respectable’ marriage. Harwood uses descriptive language, religious imagery and irony to
…show more content…
This language is comparable to that used of livestock, to make sure that none have escaped; which also implies to the reader that these girls are held against their will and are fenced off from society. The controlling nature of the nuns is yet again shown when the nun “silences their talking”, the girls have lost the freedom that any children would

naturally have to be talking and laughing but this is not allowed for women and girls that have ‘done wrong’ in societies’ eyes.

The Magdalene Asylums were first created to help women by rehabilitating them, however over a period of time the intention of the laundries changed to become an institution to oppress the young women in an unjust way. Gwen Harwood emphasizes the hypocritical nature of the Asylums and the nuns that managed them. Irony is used throughout Home of Mercy, including the title as it names the Asylums a home of mercy and yet the girls have been taken away from their own homes. As the piece goes on we see that the pregnant girls are treated in a way that you would not expect to see pregnant women to be treated, the nuns, who show to no mercy to them, yet again a use of irony, force the girls to ‘launder’. The idea behind the girls working as washerwomen is to symbolize them washing away their sins and yet they are not washing their own clothes but “sheets soiled by other bodies”. The religious imagery within the poem conveys the hypocritical nature of the Magdalene Asylums. The term “plaster

Related Documents