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Les Murray “The Burning Truck” and “Widower in the Country”

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In The poems “The Burning Truck” and “Widower in the Country” Murray uses imagery, metaphors and personification to enhance the impact of the poems on the reader.

“The Burning Truck”. The Poem is about war and shows how it can bring out the most primitive emotions out of people. The Poem also shows that during war time regular laws do not exist but a different set of wartime rules and the war will continue.

The Title of the Poem, The burning truck gives the reader a strong image of a truck which is on fire. This should indicate to the reader that there is danger and violence about and the area is not a safe place. The truck (which symbolizes war) continues on going and eventually goes away

The Poem Is Structured Into five stanzas with the first describing the speed of an attack on the town. The second describes the violence and damage left behind from the attack from the planes. In the third stanza it goes on to describe what should happen, the violence continues “It would not stop”. The fourth shows the difference between the people, there are “the wild boys of the streets” who seem to enjoy what is happening. In the final Stanza It tells us that war brings out the most wild and primitive emotions in people

Murray mostly uses personification and uses metaphors in this poem.

E.g. Personification

“Windows Spat Glass”

– This gives the reader the impression that the windows are spitting, but they are really breaking. The windows have been personified by saying they are spitting glass.

– The purpose of this is to make the breaking of the glass more dramatic and to make it sound faster.

E.g. Metaphor

“a cage torn by gorillas of flame”

– The Flame is compared to the gorillas because it emphasizes the fierceness and the power and unpredictable ness of the two.

– The Purpose is meant to show the primitiveness of the two and too show war is very unpredictable, wild, dangerous, powerful…etc

“The Widower in the country”. The poem shows that change can bring a life of isolation and loneliness. The poem also shows how change is not always embraced and how we should not lead a life with a lack of change.

The title of the poem, the widower in the country gives the reader the impression of an individual in a vast area. This lets the readers know that the widower is alone and isolated. Already, the reader feels sympathy for the widower, not only because he has lost his wife, but he now lives alone in a vast and empty area.

The poem is structured into 3 stanzas. The first stanza is about what “the widower” will do, he knows this because its his daily mechanical routine eg “ill get up soon” (future tense). In the second stanza Its about “the widowers” feelings and how he feels about life. The Last stanza once again goes into his routing about going to bed, but in this stanza it also tells us about a special event which happened “last night”.

Murray mostly uses Imagery and uses metaphors in this poem.

E.g. Imagery

“bright webbed visions smeared across the darkness of my thoughts”

– The effect is a comparison of his bright visions and the darkness of his thoughts. His bright visions are probably of his wife when she was alive and his dark thoughts are of present times when his sad and alone

– The Purpose is to give the reader an image of what is being said in the poem.

As shown in the two poems Murray shows that the use of metaphors, personification and imagery can greatly enhance the reading of a poem and make it more interesting to the reader.

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