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The Secret River & Lady Lazarus

1601 words - 7 pages

In what ways do literary techniques and devices create shades of meaning? Discuss with reference to a Plath poem and The Secret River.Literary techniques and devices such as metaphor, irony, dialogue and structure can create deeper, hidden ideas creating subtle shades of meaning in the texts Lady Lazarus and The Secret River. The texts are by Sylvia Plath and Kate Grenville respectively. The title of Lady Lazarus creates a theatrical tone which glorifies the idea of suicide. Furthermore, this poem contains the idea of the oppression of women through metaphor of Plath's own feelings of objectification. Similarly, The Secret River contains shades of meaning established through the use of ...view middle of the document...

This reference makes reference to rebirth and conveys that the speaker has a positive attitude towards rebirth. Lazarus, a male figure, is juxtaposed with a lady. Thus this indicates the rebirth of women. The title foreshadows the mar carp rhythm of the poem, talking about a nightmarish topic in a light rhythm. The title glorifies suicide, by thinking of suicide as a rebirth, cleansing the soul and is a new beginning for the speaker.Sylvia Plath's poem, Lady Lazarus can be read on a literal, general level, or be read on gendered level with the recognition of literary techniques and devices, thus creating a different shade of meaning. While at a first reading it may appear that the poem is simply one about the suicide attempts of a depressed, heartbroken woman. Through the use of literary techniques and devices the disempowerment of women is conveyed. Figurative language in this poem helps to bring about an understanding of almost indiscernible nuances of meaning. "Them unwrap me hand and foot--/The big strip tease." At first glance, this can be read to show the speaker to likening her life to that of a stripper, showing how her whole life has been scrutinized and has been seen by the world. The unwrapping of her body parts is similar to a butcher, cutting up their meat. This shows how the speaker feels like her life is being inspected. This can also be read on a different level in regards to women as a whole. The image of the stripper can symbolise the disempowered female image. Strippers are exposed and are usually taken advantage of, showing how an entire gender disempowered and objectified by the metaphorical audience; men. This metaphor shows a power struggle between men and women, showing how women are oppressed in their own lives. The understanding of language techniques can be used to show a general reading and a gendered reading, conveying the shade of meaning of the disempowerment of women.The metaphorical rape in The Secret River expresses the attitude that condemns the colonization of Australia, by likening it to a rape. By likening the colonisation of Thornhill's Point by William Thornhill to a rape, this shows the resistance that Thornhill's point had with colonisation. It shows how the colonisation of Thornhill's point was immoral and inhuman, similar to a rape. The name 'Thornhill's point' is erectile imagery, showing the dominance Thornhill has over the land. The colonisation of Thornhill's point can be read to a wider level, showing the resistance Australia had when it was being colonised. "…feeling the strength in his on shoulders warm through is flesh, forcing himself against the river. The boat stirred sluggishly in response." (Page 132) The language used is sexual imagery, showing the dominance Thornhill has over the resisting land. It shows how Thornhill craves the dominance he holds over the land, much like the European colonisers when colonising Australia in the 19th century. The words 'strength' and 'forcing...

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