Essay The Lion's Bride - Gwen Harwood

903 Words Aug 14th, 2012 4 Pages
The Lion’s Bride

Gwen Harwood’s work frequently focuses on woman being demoralised by society’s practices that reduce her to a lesser being. A common worldwide value that Harwood rejects as the normality in life with her poems. Harwood battles against the traditions that she believes support this downgrading by continually returning to the issue. Due to Harwood’s existence in a time where women of Australia still fought to vote and for a pay check to match a man’s, Harwood too displays her support. “The Lions Bride” is centred on the subject of marriage and entails the ugliness of the situations that are specific to women. This remains relevant to the modern world because of the ongoing struggle for equality. By using a wedding as a
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Implying that Harwood shares no mainstream views on love or marriage. Moreover a critical feature of the poem is the man announcing himself as a “king” although he has no title and is kept in a cage. Classical dominating characteristics are specifically given to Harwood’s “brute” who objectifies his woman. This brute can interpreted from a more feminist approach to encompass the whole male gender. A feministic angle could view the man as a self-proclaimed ruler above women. The entire first stanza is riddled with foreboding elements, the usage of past tense and the worrisome concept of a caged creater being tantalised by a “tender” woman. Such a portrayal can be compared to a cat playing with its food. Harwood is signaling her own concern for the entire situation.

From the very beginning the woman is dehumanised. She progressively becomes more unnatural and is gradually made less of an individual. Who she was, how she was “loved” is forgotten “today”. She submits herself to becoming a bride, which requires the expected manipulations of appearance. A painted face, her once bare feet “pointed”, even her very flesh being “minced” in for the occasion. The woman is metaphorically killed on her wedding day – becoming a “ghost” when she is “engorged” on by her husband. This is symbolic of a woman’s identity death when she becomes a wife. She is reduced to nothing by her unity; being engulfed by the other half. This summons daring observations to be

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