On A Portrait Of A Deaf Man

Submitted By shivanip13
Words: 1915
Pages: 8

How do the authors present the theme of bereavement and loss in ‘’on a portrait of a deaf man’’ and one other poem (Brendan Galacher)
Both poems present dissimilar responses to bereavement in abstract ways to achieve varying purposes and create parallels through the use of their individualistic tone, structure, language and literary devices.
Betjamen presents the theme of bereavement in a distraught manor, he engages with ideas of anger and loss of faith that can root from such traumatic experiences, this evokes ideas of anger and emotions yet to be dealt with by the speaker. On the other hand, Kay is more optimistic with her presentation of bereavement, Kay attempts to empathise with the more positive aspects of Brendan Gallacher’s fictional death and presents the time as one to celebrate loved ones that have passed rather than focus on the emptiness they leave behind. ‘On a portrait of a deaf man’ and ‘Brendan Gallacher’ both have a very regular and consistent stanza structure that is prevalent throughout both poems respectively. This key similarity suggests that the poets were both very much moved by their losses, hence why they had great respect towards them and decided to reflect this in their thoughtful and carefully sustained stanza structure. This is also indicative of the intricate and elaborate impact the characters had on the speaker’s lives when they were alive, so the effect of their loss played a mass part in the process of bereavement.
Both poems make use of rhymes, however their purposes to do so are very different. In ‘On a portrait of a deaf man’ rhyme is used to create momentum that coincides with the speakers anger and frustration towards God for the loss of his father; the poet breaks up the monosyllabic rhyme scheme in the final stanza with by using the words ‘’pray’’ and ‘’decay’’. It is of significance that a two syllable word has been introduced in the very last line of the entire poem as it highlights that the cycle of life and death is continuous and the two syllable word represents the beginning of a new cycle as one has ended, this is ironic and at odds with the speakers point of view as his frustration and anger rooted from bereavement and loss reaches a peak point in this stanza. On the other hand, Kay makes use of rhyme in ‘Brendan Gallacher’ to actually highlight the loss of not only the speaker’s imaginary best friend, but also the speakers fading childhood and loss of innocence. Words used by the poet either half rhyme or fully rhyme with Brendan Gallacher’s surname, these give us an insight into the purpose that he served to the speaker and gives a sense of unity between the two; however, this is not consistent throughout the poem and only true until the speaker’s mother is introduced. The breaking away from the rhyme scheme is significant here because it builds on this idea of parental responsibility and parental care, the speaker fears her mum finding out that the friend they speaks of is not real and her mother fears for the safety of her child – however the half rhymes foreshadow her mother is going to find out any or alternatively they already knows. There are no rhymes after that point as it signifies that the speaker’s lengthy childhood memory of Brendon Galachar is that of the past. Alternatively it could be interpreted as her mother doing so with the daughters best interest at heart – and from her mothers angle the eradication of rhyme could mean that the speaker has gone on to make real friends which would’ve been her wish, so in this sense though the lack of rhyme represents loss of the child, it also represents relief of the mother.

Both poems make reference to location to provide reasoning as to why the deaths happen or why they are somewhat predictable. In ‘On a portrait of a deaf man’ Betjamen contrasts the countryside location of Cornwall with the City location of London, though at first this may seem an ambiguous link, it is a very essential link that…