Bruce Dawe, Enter Without so Much as Knocking

In: English and Literature

Submitted By actionbrnsn
Words 1810
Pages 8

Over the centuries, poetry has endeavoured to communicate human emotion and ideas. Bruce Dawe’s grave Homecoming and the saddening Dulce et Decorum est by Wilfred Owen convey the trauma in war-stricken situations and the loss involved. Significantly differing from these sombre themes, William Shakespeare is able to convey his love and appreciation for a woman in My Mistress’ Eyes which conflicts with the self-hatred and resentment apparent in Jennifer Maiden’s stark Anorexia. Delving into personal emotions, a number of the poems express despair in conflict or, conversely, aim to portray an inner turmoil.

The depressing atmosphere of Homecoming appeals to the reader by evoking a sense of despair. As the soldiers’ bodies are returned from war, Dawe explores the undignified treatment of the corpses, zipped “in green plastic bags”. Irony in the title alludes to the fact that the soldiers are not returning to a celebration and are unidentifiable, “piled on the hulls of Grants”. Gaining an emotional distance through the use of a third person voice, the poem enables the reader to view the tragedy in its entirety. Repeating “home, home, home” accentuates the emotional ties of the soldiers, a technique indicative of the monotony of the experiences involved in warfare. Equally, “telegrams tremble like leaves from a wintering tree…the spider grief swings in his bitter geometry”, uses simile and metaphor to portray the coldness of death and spreading of grief throughout the community. The technique of symbolism applied in Homecoming evokes the pain of death through “dogs” and their haunting “howls”. They raise their “muzzles in mute salute” respectfully, in the silent homecoming. Demonstrating the diversity of the soldiers, the harsh “c” sound is maintained throughout “curly-heads, kinky-hairs, crew-cuts, balding non-coms” to portray the…...

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