To What Extent Is a Focus on Metaphor and Symbol Central to an Analysis of Understanding of Douglass Dunn's Poetry?

1722 words 7 pages
To what extent is a focus on metaphor and symbol central to an analysis and understanding of Douglas Dunn’s poetry? (The Kaleidoscope/Sandra’s Mobile/Second Opinion)
It is considered more difficult for a poet to grab the attention and imagination of an audience than it is for an author. The use of metaphor and symbol in poetry means that the poet can say one thing and invoke a whole range of possibilities, be it love, anger, jealousy or envy; an old memory or a new wish. The use of metaphors and symbols enables the audience to see what they believe Dunn meant, by imaging his true meaning of a word. The three poems I have chosen to study are: ‘’The Kaleidoscope’’, ‘’Sandra’s Mobile’’ and ‘’Second Opinion’’. These are all part of the
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Love has been raised to a divine status in Dunn’s eyes and it has required the death of his wife for him to realise exactly just how much he loves her.
In line 1, the descriptive element of ‘A constant artist’ could symbolise the never-ending imprint that his wife has left on Dunn. The idea of constancy, a permanent addition to his life, coupled with the ‘artist’ showing that Dunn will remember her for what she loved, which contrasts greatly with other poetry we have studied, particularly Thomas Hardy, who focussed on the loss as opposed to the memory. The model referred to in the title is a triad of gulls, circling above his wife. Gulls are scavengers, so this could symbolise the inevitable death of his wife. Birds are often shown portrayed as circling over their meals; however, as shown in the following paragraph, they never get the chance to prey.
Perhaps the most symbolic element of the poem is the final two lines. ‘She did not wake again. To prove our love, Each gull, each gull, each gull, turned into dove.’ The dove, in a religious context, symbolises peace, whilst gulls are scavengers. His wife is finally at peace, as opposed to holding on to life whilst in pain and suffering. The triad could be a reference to the Holy Trinity, as we have just seen the idea of love being elevated to a divine status, and