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The Hawthorn Hedge (Judith Wright)

Mock IGCSE: How does the poet’s writing make you feel about the woman and the way she lives?

Overall themes: Entrapment - Loneliness - Insanity

The ways in which she describes the woman -“Only the mad old girl from the hut on the hill”

- She is crazy from the long isolation

-“old girl” oxymoron -really old or old at heart because as she has closed herself emotionally to love. -“unkempt as an old tree” - a simile which brings to mind her physical appearance as someone who looks unappealing, untidy, filthy even - just like how an old tree might look. -The hawthorn hedge is a metaphor for her personality as the white flowers symbolises purity and peace and the thorns represents a wall that she builds around herself to keep people away. -“Her hands were strong in the earth…” - she used to be happy and joyful and connected to the outside world

before she built the hawthorn hedge.

The ways in which she describes the hawthorn hedge. -It is twice as tall as the rider on the mare”( 2 nd stanza) -She builds barriers where she keeps out everyone, closed from the outside world. No one is able to look inside. -“The hawthorn hedge took root, grew wild and high” (last stanza)

- She couldn’t control the growth of the plant and she is trapped within herself. She has no control over the growth of the plant but yet she allows herself to be hidden by the plant. “to hide behind”.

How does the poet’s language make you feel about the woman’s life?

- Visual imagery –“the hawthorn hedge grew wild and high” It gives you the image of a castle wall which is impenetrable and you can’t get around it.

- Repetition of “long ago” twice in the first stanza, and in the fifth stanza last line. It emphasizes that this happened many years ago and this could have contributed to her madness as she lives in the past and can’t get out.

- Emphasis on “she planted the hawthorn hedge” to show that she was the one who chose to isolate herself.

- Second stanza, “Let him stare”, “No one is here” (short sentences used makes a statement that she does not want to be found and emphasizes the fact that people from the outside are curious about what is inside.)

- Enjambment from one line of a poem to the next without any pause.

- Draws attention to the word “peer” in the second stanza and the words “to hide behind” in the last stanza.

- Caesura (a dash, a pause in a line of poetry)

- The dash makes you think about the words the poets have used in the next line. “emphasizes on the words “it was long ago”

- The use of the open and closed inverted commas “Death” and “life” makes the woman come alive and gives her voice. There is irony in the word “life” as she isn’t really living her life to the fullest and isn’t happy.