Changing self is a part of the process of living. It is the apprehension of this process that motivates a number of texts. These include the poetry of Gwen Harwood, 'Sky High' from the prescribed booklet Changing, and other related material including 'New Mexico' the photograph, and the Film A Beautiful Mind. We see how the contexts and techniques which shape these texts also shape the process of changing self and thus contributes to its infinite complexity. Indeed, in an attempt to engage with the process of change in time the texts cover a range of physical, psychological, cultural and aesthetic aspects.
Gwen Harwoods poetry explores the relationship between the nature of the changing self and the factors which contribute to growth and development over time. One of the significant aspects of changing self covered in Harwoods poetry is the process in which a child's innocent mind, is inked like a blank page and tainted by some experience.
This experience is explored in 'The Glass Jar.' The poem tracks a child's journey and development from innocence to experience and shows both the psychological vulnerability of the child and the traumatic impact change has. The innocent expectations of the child are contrasted with the terror of his dreams and fears. The young boy innocently attempts to trap the sun's rays in a glass jar in order to exorcise the demons that haunt his dreams. Putting his faith first in a monstrance and then in his own mother, he finds himself betrayed by both.
By making subtle changes in the portrayals of dreams, Harwood shows us that the boy has been changed by his experiences. Before 'the betrayals' the dreams are quite indefinite, relying on incomplete images of pincers, claws and fangs to represent the horror. The lines,