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Social Issues In Judith Wrights Work

1529 words - 7 pages


Social issues are displayed in many poets’ work and their beliefs on these issues are exposed intentionally through the use of various techniques. Judith Wright conveyed her view on social issues in most of her poems, and built her argument by using a variety of poetic techniques which position the reader to comprehend her beliefs. By developing a socially critical perspective through her poems, Wright’s view of the world’s social issues is presented to the reader in a way that forces them to ponder on the aspects of society mentioned. “Woman to Man” and “Remittance Man” are two poems through which Wrights beliefs on pregnancy, the relationship between man and wife, and social ...view middle of the document...

One can see this through the easy balance of the lines, even in line three which ends, or is maintained with a dash. This is meant to be a silence for the reader to ponder on what has just been mentioned. Again, the balance is maintained in the last line by a comma, which also indicates silence and thus stresses the four last words “for I am afraid”. These words portray strong feeling of anxiety and mirror Wrights feelings about her pregnancy at the time. The poem identifies with her emotions and the issue of pregnancy affecting marriage not only through structure, but also through speed and rhythm.

Wright reinforces her feelings about her pregnancy and her belief that pregnancy is sacred through the speed and rhythm of the poem “Woman to Man”. It also gives the reader a feeling about what is occurring in the poem, in this case, sexual intercourse. The increasing speed and urgency of the lines suggested by the use of short vowels, particularly in the last stanza, where the second last line can be seen as the orgasm. The image in this line is exaggerated through the power of its series of single syllables which alternate light and heavy stresses, combined with short vowels and plosive consonants (b, t, a), mainly in the stressed words, ‘blaze’, ‘light’ and ‘blade’. A relaxation after the climax is suggested in the last line as the vowels are longer and the consonants softer. The ‘d’s still suggest fear in the words ‘hold’ and ‘afraid’ replacing the passion of the sexual act. Throughout the poem, rhythm and speed create an atmosphere of beauty and excitement, all of which Wright feels during pregnancy. The solemn tone created by the previous stresses indicates the woman’s realisation about what she is taking on. Another technique which supports Wright’s feelings about the issue is imagery.

Imagery is one of the focal techniques used in Judith Wright’s “Woman to Man”. It creates an image in the reader’s mind supporting the emotion Wright felt when she wrote the poem. There are three kinds of imagery in the poem; abstract imagery, figurative imagery and literal imagery. “The eyeless labourer in the night” (line 1) is not meant to be taken literally, but is suggesting a living but less than human entity which is identified only through the action which is its most important attribute. “The blood’s wild tree” (line 14) is another abstract image which suggests the consequences of the wilderness that is ‘in the blood’ when a person is sexually aroused. Another assumption which can be made from this is that like a tree rooted in the dark earth, the woman’s form provides a vehicle for the continuing chain of life. These abstract images withhold Wright’s support for the woman’s role in continuing life and her feelings about pregnancy.

Figurative imagery in “the intricate and folded rose” shows the parallel between an unfolding rosebud and an unfolding personality in the child, but also in the mother and father as they take on parenthood. Wright also...

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