Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Change, and its consequences

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Change in self unquestionably has a substantial impact on the individual. The experience gained can lead the individual to maturity, and realization and better understanding of life, yet change can also provoke suffering and regret. Examples of consequences of self-change are explored in many texts including, Father and Child by Gwen Harwood, Glass Jar by Gwen Harwood, Sky-High by Hannah Roberts, and Winning isn’t everything by Tom Lehman. The listed texts all explore the concept of self-change and emphasize the affect on the individual by using various techniques such as metaphorical language and reflective narration.

The poem The Glass Jar by Gwen Harwood exemplifies that self-change will lead to a better understanding and maturity. The boy’s naïve hope that he could hold the light of the sun in a glass jar, was discarded when he “recalled the glass jar…” to discover the blunt truth and “hope fell head long from its eagle height”. The child’s hope in the glass jar has been described using religious metaphors to emphasize the child’s dependency on the glass jar, “…ready to bless, to exorcize…” it has been perceived as his savior from the “monsters in the dark”. The failure of the glass jar and the change leads the boy to suffering and loss of hope and to “(run) sobbing his loss…” and to nightmares the next morning after the bitter realization, the boy abandons his hope in the jar, which “would fill night’s gulf and hungers…” and hence leading the boy from naivety to understanding, and innocence to maturity. These outcomes are an essential part of adulthood, and these consequences have enlightened the boy, although they were bitter it has paved his path towards independence.

In the poem Father and Child by Gwen Harwood, the change in self leads to a mature understanding of death, and the experience also leads to regret. In Barn Owl, the boy in his youthful arrogance and innocence, wishing to experiment with death attempts to slay a Barn Owl, the child initially “…believed death was clean and final…” discovers that it is “obscene” and vial. The boy after witnessing these turn of events is immediately lead to a realistic and emotional understanding of death and “cruelty”, and he “wept”. The change moves him to regret his immature act. In Nightfall the lessons of death and pain from his experience as a child, makes him embrace life “…bird crowd in flowering trees…” The influential consequence of the change in self in Barn owl transcends time, even though he is regretful of his acts he is thankful for the experiences he gains as he now many years later is able to accept and understand death and embrace life. “…A child once quick to mischief, grown to learn what sorrow, in the end…no tears can mend”.

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Harwood uses reflective narration to show boy’s initial understanding of death, “…believed death clean and final”, and leads to show the consequence of change “leaned my head upon my father’s arm, and wept…” the narrator reflects on his experience in the past from his middle age, the consequence of self-change has evidently has a significant impact on him as he uses negative terminology to describe his child self, “horny fiend”, “dream of a child obedient, angel mild…” clearly showing the older more wiser self of the narrator regrets his actions, as a result of his experience and proving his current understanding of death and its harshness. It is furthermore justified in Nightfall as Harwood proves that the consequence of self-change is eternal, and forty years later, in his middle age narrates that because of his experience in Barn owl, that he has “learn what…no tears can mend”. Clearly showing that self-change has a significant impact on the individual.

The short narrative, Sky High by Hannah Roberts suggests that consequence of change in self cannot always be a positive result. The narrator is nostalgic, and regrets her newfound responsibilities, and yearns for the child’s freedom that she once had. The narrator vividly describes her childhood and her experience with the washing lines “with its sketal arms”, the “boys next door” and her “opah”. The author uses reflective narration to clearly describe her childhood before the change. Roberts describes her childhood with feelings of joy and excitement, “best climbing tree”, “I’m flying”, “frilly and nearly as pink as the bathers”. She moves on to an image of an “older, more age warped”, the tone of excitement is not continued when she describes her present world, which is “rusted”. It becomes clear that changes have occurred, to both her world and change in self. “...but it is unlikely the washing line could support me this time.” The present world intrudes on her reminiscence as she realizes how she and world have changed. The narrator uses a reflective narration to compare her past and present. The tone of nostalgia is established as she discovers that she is unable to do the things that she was able to do in her childhood, showing the negative impact of the consequence of change in self that has ultimately robbed her freedom. She must reluctantly accept the responsibilities of adulthood. “There are too many things tying me to the ground”. She has matured and accepts her changed circumstances but still yearns for the freedom she experienced as a child. As a consequence of change in self she has been robbed of her freedom and has been ‘tied’ to the ground.

In the article Winning isn’t enough by Tom Lehman, the author reflects on his failing career as a professional golfer, and his mental struggles. The author prior to change, struggles with his identity and is depressed “…feelings of self doubt…” and “completely isolated…I felt like a failure…” He feels that winning a few tournaments could fill the ‘holes’ in his life. He regains confidence when he makes the change to accept “God…into my life”, as a consequence of this change he is spiritually ‘lifted’. The author uses subjective first person reflective narration to convey the self-change and these consequences. “…I’ve never had a feeling like that since”. The newfound spirituality allows him to regain his confidence and his career. “I won the British open and…ranked the best player in the world.” Furthermore, he is soon able to realize that “winning isn’t everything…” through this consequence he is able to realize that his intimacy with his family and God is “what gives (his) life meaning”. The use of subjective narration puts forward a personal experience experienced by the author, and non-fictional, truthfully revealing all effects of consequence of change in self, as he speaks from experience. By using a reflective narration he successfully shows the reader the consequences of change. He describes his past as filled with “isolation” and his identity crisis, and he contrasts it with those after change where he is content, as a result of his change in self. He was previously naïve to think that he would be fulfilled with victory, but as the result of this experience he is finally able to realize what he has been missing in his life “…(the) relationship with God and with others”.

As it can be seen, the consequences of self-change have a significant impact on the individual’s life. It can cause suffering and regret and learn from their mistakes, and or it can also help the individual mature, and finally realize their naivety, move them to a newer level of understanding. And hence all consequences of self-change inevitably have an impact on the individual; be it positive or negative.


You dont talk about metaphorical language. It would have been appropriate to do so in Sky-High.


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