Issues reflected in "The Precipice" by Judith Wright and "In the Park" by Gwen Hardwood

Essay by jarrah May 2007

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In the two poems “The Precipice” by Judith Wright and “In the Park” by Gwen Harwood, the issues raised include motherhood, war and the environment.

In “The Precipice”, an unnamed woman takes her children and leaps off a cliff in the bush, taking her (and their) lives. The three key issues addressed in this poem are:·Motherhood – the poem challenges the pretense that motherhood is joyful, life-fulfilling and all mothers are happy·War – the poem challenges the morality of war and the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki·Environment – the poem reflects the devastation of the environment caused by warThe reader knows this mother has a problem, because “the answer” implies there is a problem to be answered.. This also has mathematical connotations – the answer to a question has come into her head. Military intelligence has mathematical connotations, and so when the answer has come to her, this also refers to the war decision that killing people will solve the problem.

“Looking through the window” is symbolic of a barrier between the woman and reality. While this barrier is transparent and cannot be seen by the world, it still exists and she gets further and further away from reality while nobody notices what has happened to her. This is referring to all females in society, and how the voice of women isn’t heard - that their troubles and problems are ignored, so they are left helpless behind this barrier. “She had her logic” further accentuates the mathematical manner of her thoughts. It also has military connotations, referring to the “intelligence” that has led to the actions of war. Wright indicates that society has ignored her problems in “not even tragic”, suggesting that her depression is not noticed as “tragic”. People see her as a happy mother and do...