Jack by Rosemary Dobson Analysis

How has your chosen text explored the concept of belonging?

The concept of belonging has been explored in Rosemary Dobson’s poem Jack. The poem explores a state of human helplessness as a result of a series of reaction to not belonging, then being a part of a group for a short period. Dobson has used an array of poetic techniques in order to explore the concept of belonging within the poem.
Dobson has established the poem as a metaphor for the loneliness of not belonging with sometimes a brief moment where the individual feels as though they are accepted. Entitled Jack, the poem has established the metaphor through the symbolic use of a Jack-in-the-box. This metaphor runs right through the poem and has been demonstrated through various techniques. Dobson has used a metaphor that with plays of the notion of the jack-in-the-box; ‘coffined up in life’. This highly visual metaphor highlights the notion of being locked away from life demonstrating the feeling of not belonging. ‘He waits the tapping at the locks He hears the children calling “Jack!” ‘; the verbs used in this quote suggest that jack is ready and waiting to belong. A sense of urgency in Jacks desperation to belong is illustrated in the personification of Jacks cry; ‘Cry to thin to hear Implores the gods that somehow good will bring him to a just release’. The personification also highlights Jacks inability to make connections. In stanza five there is an increase in the poems rhythm, Dobson uses more active words such as ‘Sprang’ and ‘Delight’ in order to create this increased pace. Metaphorically this is the moment where jack springs out of his box, experiencing the joys of belonging, before realising that this is a short-lived experience.
Dobson makes a clear connection to the loneliness of jack in comparison to the human race towards the end of the poem. The poet generalises the metaphor of the Jack-in-the-box; ‘of flesh and blood, like jacks of straw shut down and crying for release’ this makes a...