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That a change in self can be brought on by a single external

influence has been a major message that can be explored through

several of the texts studied thus far. The vivacious musician of

Harwoods Prize Giving, the ex-lover of In the Park by the same

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author, the clothes line of Roberts Sky High and the death of a

loved one in Audens Funeral Blues are all protagonists in the

changing self (or the realisation of a previous change) of each

texts main persona.

Harwoods Prize Giving and In the Park both explore the changing

in self of the principle subject of the poem when confronted by

another person. In the case of Prize Giving, an arrogant professor

is met with mockery by a younger, exuberant woman, at a school

presentation night.

Harwoods use of implicit characterisation gives the reader a

manifestation of the arrogant nature of the professor; arrogance

which is to be the key for his eventual downfall. The poets

inclusion of phrases such as grace their humble platform

and rudely declined show the condescending nature of the professor

successfully, without the need to include the use of an explicit

statement. After the reader is given an insight into the professors

character, we are introduced in the fourth stanza to the persona that

will be the changing influence on the professor. Harwoods

descriptive imagery in the lines underneath a light (no accident /

of seating he felt sure), with titian hair / one girl sat grinning at

him identifies the brazen, and alluring, nature of the young woman.

The professor becomes congested with lust, and, as is his arrogant

disposition, shortly believes that she may possibly lust after him.

This luxuria hits a crescendo when he shakes the young womans

hand, and we encounter the hyperbole felt its voltage fling his

hold / from his calm age and power. It is through the power of her

music that then stimulates Eisenbart to realise how foolish his short

infatuation with this girl had been. The oxymoron sage fool is

incorporated articulately by Harwood to outline this fact. That a

change in self has occurred in the professor is also evident in the

phrase peered into a trophy which suspended / his image upside down

which is equivocal in its literal and figurative nature.

Similarly in In the Park, it is a person who features in the

changing self of the persona, but this time an ex-lover is used to

outline the consequences of a previous change. The atmosphere before

this character is introduced, set from an authorial view, outlines

the personas current state of affairs. She is a single mother (not

stated but presumed) with three young children who have played a

major part in the downgrading of the personas life. The downgrading

role of the children is represented in the their descriptions of the

first stanza. Use of the onomatopoetic phrase whine and bicker and

descriptive phrases tug her skirt and aimless patterns in the

dirt give such representation to this role.

The introduction of the ex-lover in stanza two reveals how much the

womans life has changed since they last met. From the bleakness of

the first stanza, we enter a new stage filled with the interdispersal

of direct speech between the two characters. The woman senses the

thoughts of the man, that he is lucky his life hasnt turned out like

hers (but for the grace of God…). To counter this she talks up

her current situation, the children no longer whine and bicker

but chatter and thrive. After the ex-lover leaves, the admittance

of the mother in the metaphor They have eaten me alive shows that

through the confrontation of her past (in the form of the man) the

woman grasps a greater conception of the dire changes caused by the

birth of her children.

In Sky High by Hannah Roberts, it is not another person which

outlines a change in self of the persona, but an object (a

clothesline) which triggers a memory from the personas youth.

Personification of the clothesline, and its relation to the authors

own change in self since her youth, is one technique incorporated by

Roberts. When describing herself and the clothesline in the first two

paragraphs, we are given the phrases silver skeletal arms

and smooth, sweat damp hands. Comparing this to age-warped

washing line and hands, beginning to accumulate…wrinkles one can

see the dramatic realisation of the changed persona.

Another representation of the changing influence of the clothesline

is the descriptions of the hanging clothes. Where as in her youth

the clothesline was festooned with socks and knickers and shirts

like coloured flags in a secret code, Roberts now write(s) my own

semaphore secrets in colourful t-shirts and mismatched sock. This

suggests that as a child, the author thought that the clothes were

hung out in secret code. Now as an adult she realises the

ordinariness of the practice. The semaphore secrets that she writes

as an adult expose to the reader the question if these are messages

of unhappiness.

The death of a loved one in Funeral Blues is the protagonist for

the change in self of the main subject. Contextually, the poem

features a speaker mourning the loss of the person who was closest to

him in his life. By looking at the descriptive language and in

particular the metaphors used by the author, one can see the drastic

change in self that this loss has caused.

Each stanza in itself can be seen as the stages through which the

persona goes through, caused by the changing influence. The first

stanza brings forth the idea of silence before and during the

funeral. Audens imagery and simple diction in the phrases Stop all

the clocks and Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone give

a clear insight into the current mindset of the persona. He wishes no

sound of life to be heard, except for the muffled drum of the

funeral procession. The second stanza features many descriptive

images representing that all should mourn the loss and express the

same grief that the persona has felt from this change in self. The

author exclaims that aeroplanes are to scribble on the sky the

message He Is Dead. The alliteration of the letter s and the

capitalisation of the last three words in this line both give a

powerful meaning to the image. The third stage the persona undertakes

is a recollection of how much this loved one meant to him. Auden

illustrates this through the use of several metaphors exemplifying

that the deceased was evident in all aspects of his life(He was my

working week, my Sunday rest). The fourth stanza and the last stage

of the slowly depreciating mood of the persona. Due to the changing

influence of the death, the speaker now expresses his feeling that

life means nothing and should not proceed. The earlier request for

silence is now substantiated with a request for darkness and the

thoughts of the speaker are embodied in more powerful images (The

stars are not wanted now; put out every one). One then comes to the

last line of the poem and is hit with the simple but compelling

statement, For nothing now can ever come to any good. The change in

self is clearly defined in this last line, that the single influence

of the death of a loved one has forced the persona into devastation.

From these four texts one can see the impact that a single changing

influence has imposed in the changing self of each persona. In In

the Park and Funeral Blues we see that a changing influence has

caused a severe downgrading in the way that the personas see

themselves. In Prize Giving, an arrogant professor realised that he

too was capable of acting as a sage fool, and in Roberts Sky High

the clothesline brought forward the notion that change has limited

her of the freedom she had as a youth. (Of course, all changing

influences do not have such dire consequences as these.)

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