The Domesticity Of Giraffes By Judith Beveridge

684 words - 3 pages

The poem, “The Domesticity of Giraffes” portrays the agony of a giraffe confined in captivity. The concepts of power and powerlessness are evidently portrayed through the uses of several techniques such as metaphors, allegory, contrast and oxymoron. It is through these techniques that the concepts of power and powerlessness are conveyed to readers.The poet’s use of metaphor assists in conveying the idea of individual and social powerlessness within the poem. “Bruised-appled eyed”. This metaphor was used to describe the physical appearance of the giraffe’s eyes. It draws on a comparison between the giraffe’s eye and that of the result of domestic violence. This conjures the idea that she is unable to protect herself and vulnerable, ultimately emphasizing her individual powerlessness. The poet further illustrates the powerlessness of the giraffe describing it as a “wire-cripple”. When ...view middle of the document...

As a result, readers gain a broader perspective into the social powerlessness of women as drawn through the giraffe.The ideas of power and powerlessness are accentuated through the use of contrast. The title “The Domesticity of Giraffes” depicts two contrasting ideas. With ‘domesticity’ we would associate with tamed animals, while ‘giraffes’ would present a sense of wilderness and freedom. This title juxtaposed the two contrasting images and through these images, readers are presented with the idea of powerlessness. Instead of roaming in the wilderness, the giraffe portrayed in this poem is confined to a zoo; she is without any freedom, independence, nor any power. Contrast is also evident in the juxtaposition of the attitude of the giraffe and the bull. The giraffe expresses apparent distress as she is quite obviously desperate to return to the wild. Interestingly, the bull portrays a contrasting attitude; he does not seem to mind being enclosed in captivity. From this readers are given contrasting perspectives of life in captivity, ultimately portraying the power and powerlessness of each animal within the poem.The use of oxymoron further enhances the idea of power and powerlessness in the poem. As the giraffe licks the salt off the poet’s hand, she describes the giraffe as full of “sensual agony”. This stresses the powerlessness of the giraffe. As she is use to licking salt off the wire, the temporary feeling of something soft like a hand is both sensual and agonising to the giraffe. Sensual as it comforting while agonising as she knows it won’t last. This presents the individual powerlessness of the giraffe as she is unable to further prolong her enjoyment, emphasizing her powerlessness.The poem depicts the idea of power and powerlessness. It is through the uses of techniques such as metaphors, allegory, contrast and oxymoron that the poet’s ideas are expressed. From these techniques, readers obtain further understanding of the concepts of power and powerlessness as presented within the poem.Bibliography: http://www.alchemyit.com.au/users/paula/TheDomesticityofGiraffes.htm

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