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The first prose poem I have chosen to deconstruct is HG Wells’, ‘treasure in the forest’

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 665
  • Category: Poems

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For my wider reading coursework I have been asked to study prose poems and deconstruct the poems to find out how writers use linguistic, structural devices to achieve their effects. The first prose poem I have chosen to deconstruct is H.G Wells’, ‘treasure in the forest’.

H.G wells is a science fiction and thriller author, and uses an old way of writing as his writing is over a century old. As a writer H.G Wells spends time on the detail of his words in order for us to get a clear picture in our minds.

The title of the poem, ‘treasure in the forest’, is synaptic and stimulates our minds. The word ‘treasure’, reminds us of pirates, buried treasure, galleons etc. Therefore, without us even reading the poem, we expect surprise, danger and fear.

The first paragraph is all about setting the scene. The first sentence,’ the canoe was now approaching the land’, suggests that the writing is in the present and it also draws the reader into the story. The narrative is in the 3rd person and the narrator is detached as we find out as the story progresses. The narrator does not bias the characters or make you think certain ways about them, as we can make our own mind up through the characters actions.

On another occasion, later on in the poem, there is an elision sequence where all the sentences merge together just as in a dream. Also the style of writing changes to present tense to create vivid writing.

The text is written and is not meant to be read aloud as the dialogue is not colourful and the descriptive imagery is very evocative. If this poem were to be read aloud we would expect an air of menace in the speaker and for them to have no dialects in their voice. The pace of this text is gradual and builds slowly as the metaphor of the jungle is unfolded. Throughout the story there are hints of racism with such comments as,’the life of a chinaman is scarcely sacred like a Europeans’, and,’ all chinamen are alike’.

We do not know whether H.G Wells was a racist person and put his thoughts into the character, or he is a magnificent writer who can describe the actions and words of a racist person to detail or, he could also unintentionally put it there to give a sense of reality to the poem. This poem is ironic and shows a moral of ‘what goes around comes around’, to the reader seeing that they killed a Chinese man, and they get killed at the end. Furthermore, it is ironic that they see a dead man by the poisonous plant and gold, yet they never stopped to think how this could have come about, causing them to get killed.

The vocabulary of this poem is synaptic, dark, menacing and mainly adjectives. We can see this through sentences such as, ‘the sky blazed’, which is a short sentence which has a metaphor in it suggesting that the sun does not shine-but blazes creating a red sunset image. The punctuation throughout the poem is always present and makes the poem difficult to read for a modern reader.

This poem is set in the Philippine jungle where everything is unknown to the men. Most of the images Wells describes are negative as there is an air of the supernatural about and an ‘alien landscape’. The two men suspect there is something eerie about the forest as they ‘turned and looked into the dim cool shadows of the silent forest behind them’, why would they turn around if there were nothing there?

The hook at the end, is when both men die as a result of being poisoned. We do not expect a happy ending in this poem, as there was a murder in the past also, all of the text is written as if everything is hostile and distorted therefore we, at the back of our minds, expect a twist at the end or a cliff-hanger.

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