Gren Harwood Essay

Trial HSC English
Module B: critical study
Gwen Harwood- (Poetry) Practice Essay

Gwen Harwood’s poetry can be read in various views; psychoanalytical, romanticised, or feminist. Her poetry asks the universal questions that ponder in the unconscious mind. Three of Harwood’s poems in particular that are connected by self discovery, whether that it be the poet’s journey to self as shown in Alter Ego or a detached persona of self shown in both Prize Giving and Glass Jar.

Alter Ego is read as a psychoanalytical poem that discusses the challenges to find ones ‘self’ through a seemingly real presence, yet ‘nameless’ to the poet. Techniques used throughout the poem are: rhetorical questions, slow rhythm that grows momentum and repetition of a questioning tone ‘who’.
The visual stimulus provided a romantic interpretation of growing up and the cycle of life. This image reiterates Harwood’s expression of transformation from childhood to adulthood. The image positioned at the bottom of the stimulus provides connection with the poem Alter Ego.   It is a picture of reflection, a girl close up and a full body shot in the distance pointing to what can be seen as her future. The presence of her other self (her alter ego) knows all that she is and what is to come. Before she can too know these things, she must experience the pleasant and the unpleasant, love and pain, truly live life to come to an understanding of ones self, a resolution of self discovery. The image allows for deep thought, allows the responder to become consumed by a possibility of discovery.

Alter Ego is one of Gwen Harwood’s most personal poems of her search for meaning and existence, a poem that conveys those universal themes in depth. It alone, can then be connected to two other poems; Prize Giving and Glass Jar on a less personal reflection, a detached protagonist emphasises different stages of growth and discovery.

Glass Jar can be read from a Freud perspective, it is a piece about a little...