Kenneth Slessor 'five Bells' And "Vision Of Captain Cook' School English Advanced Year 11 Essay

1206 words - 5 pages

‘Through the portrayal of human experience, Slessor's poetry reinforces the significance of remembrance. To what extent does your interpretation of Slessor’s poetry support this view.’

Refer to at least two poems in your response.

‘Five Bells’ and ‘Five Visions of Captain Cook’ are elgies, memorialising a person who has passed. Both poems commemorate death and emphasise the importance of memories, by reminiscing on human experiences. However they also explore the flaws associated with memory, particularly in relation to time and death. Memory is portrayed as an unavoidable reminder of the past which can affect people's abilities to move on from the death of a loved one. These poems explore the effect of time on memory and the effect of time on death to uncover the significance of remembrance. Comment by Amy Bosnich: you need to elaborate on this further

In ‘Five Bells’ Slessor emphasises the flaws of time in his memory of Joe. Joe drowned to death and fittingly Slessor begins the poem in the present, with the “Five Bells” causing his haunting memory of Joe to return. Slessor suggests that time allows us to move on.“And memory, the flood that does not flow” is an extended metaphor for time, which conveys the idea that over time memories are distorted – instead of being smooth and flowing time makes memories jumbled and stagnant. The water is also used in this way to represent human life, as death is inevitable. “the waves ride over you” expresses the idea that we are all merely players in a much bigger game. Slessor questions the accuracy of memory, especially relating to those who have passed. Slessor implies that as humans we censor out the bad memories of loved ones who have passed with “tablets cut with dreams of piety” representing the false image portrayed on tomb stones. Comment by Amy Bosnich: is this a flaw? Comment by Amy Bosnich: you need another sentence that links this back to the question

In ‘Five Visions of Captain Cook’, Slessor commemorates the death of Captain Cook. The poem shares a series of vignettes, all of which express differing perspectives towards the life and death of Cook. The second vision offers insight into the perspective of the officers who served under Cook on his voyage to Australia. It is evident in this vision that Cook felt as though he had limited time and did not want to waste a minute as “Cook sailed at night”. Sailing at night is an outrageously ambitious decision particularly in unknown waters. Cook’s ‘bravery’ was never questioned by the sailors who were all “lulled” by the spell of Cook. They viewed Cook as a demi-god. The sailors unmistakeable trust highlights the impact that Cook had in their lives, revealing the value of remembrance in his passing. When morning came the “light airs and calms” are juxtaposed in the following line to the “reef that would have knifed”, emphasising how close they came to disaster. The sailors cockiness and ambitious trust in Cook is epitomised as they “Mock...

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