The Domesticity of Giraffes by Judith Beveridge.

Essay by spiketwo03High School, 12th gradeB, December 2007

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The poem, “The Domesticity of Giraffes” portrays the agony of a giraffe confined in captivity. The concepts of power and powerlessness are evidently portrayed through the uses of several techniques such as metaphors, allegory, contrast and oxymoron. It is through these techniques that the concepts of power and powerlessness are conveyed to readers.

The poet’s use of metaphor assists in conveying the idea of individual and social powerlessness within the poem. “Bruised-appled eyed”. This metaphor was used to describe the physical appearance of the giraffe’s eyes. It draws on a comparison between the giraffe’s eye and that of the result of domestic violence. This conjures the idea that she is unable to protect herself and vulnerable, ultimately emphasizing her individual powerlessness. The poet further illustrates the powerlessness of the giraffe describing it as a “wire-cripple”. When associating with the description ‘cripple’ we would usually refer to the physically disabled which would eventually link to social powerlessness.

It is through the uses of metaphor that the ideas of social and individual powerlessness are portrayed.

Allegory is yet another technique used to depict the concept of power and powerlessness within the poem. The giraffe is an allegory for women in society. The poet illustrates the giraffe as constantly confined in captivity; this is similar to that of housewives’ confinement to their homes. As they do not have any freedom nor any independence, both the housewives and the giraffe are seen as powerless. As a result, readers gain a broader perspective into the social powerlessness of women as drawn through the giraffe.

The ideas of power and powerlessness are accentuated through the use of contrast. The title “The Domesticity of Giraffes” depicts two contrasting ideas. With ‘domesticity’ we would associate with tamed animals, while ‘giraffes’ would present...