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How Does "Letters To The Winner", Convey A Variety Of Ideas About Change?

814 words - 3 pages

In Letters to the Winner, Les Murray conveys a variety of change in many ways. It conveys the idea that some changes that are perceived to be positive to some may actually be negative to others.In the poem, the persona's neighbour, a divorced man who leads a lonely and tedious life, has just "won the special lottery" and has now been bombarded with letters from others trying to leech some of his winnings. This change is overwhelming to him and become a burden to him.Winning the lottery is seen as a catalyst for change. In the second stanza, the imagery allows the reader to see the kind of lifestyle the neighbour leads and the environment he lives in- "he let these bags accumulate around the plank walls of the kitchen, over the chairs, till on a rainy day, he fed the tail-switching calves, let the bullocks out of the yard". This allows the reader to see how the neighbour's life changes after winning the lottery.Although the change here seems positive to many, in the next few stanzas, they are not so positive to the persona's neighbour. The letters that he receives are described metaphorically as snakes- "shaken out in a vast mound on the kitchen table they slid down, slithered to his fingers". By personifying the letters, and referring to them as snakes, it shows the true meaning of the letters, trying to lure the persona's neighbour into doing something he does not want to do, similar to how the snake lured Eve into eating the forbidden apple. The letters have now become a huge burden to him. What originally seems like a great change has now become a burden to the lottery winner, as he now feels like he is surrounded and trapped by the snake-like letters.Throughout the whole poem, there is a repetition of the word "black"- "in the black marinade of sweat", "up the corrugated black chimney shaft" and "blackened in his riches. This shows how his lottery win, his "riches" have now blackened and destroyed him. As he burns the letters, the ashes of the remaining letters are described as "black smuts swirled weightless in the room". He feels as if he has an obligation to read the letters, as he feels a price must be paid for his "win". Also, the fact that he describes the burnt ashes as weightless shows that the letters don't really mean...

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