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Compare How Family Relationships Are Presented in Harmonium and One Other Poem

  • Date Submitted: 05/22/2013 03:26 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 59.6 
  • Words: 1073
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In ‘Harmonium’, Armitage presents an awkward relationship between a weak, aging father and his embarrassed son, who finds it difficult to express his feelings. Whereas, in ‘Praise Son’, Nichols portrays the love an appreciation a daughter feels for her inspirational mother, suggesting that despite physical separation, they are still as close like before.
Armitage presents the importance of his father and the harmonium and how closely they belong to his heart.
“But its hummed harmonics still struck a chord.”
‘Struck a chord’ is usually a saying which usually describes an experience that has had an impact on someone and stayed in their memory for a long time. This suggests that the harmonium has had an impact for a long time, which is suggested by the ‘still’. ‘Still’ also shows that the speaker still values it for memories he was provided with when he was younger. ‘Struck a chord’ is also a pun because the harmonium keys chords play.   In the stanza before Armitage describes how old, weary but experienced the harmonium is; ‘ages the harmonium’s softwood case’, which brings to mind a casket, which could be interpreted as a coffin, suggesting that the harmonium is on the brink of death. This could be paralleled to his father-Armitage presents the father also as old and worn-own, not being able to look after his son as he can earn a living for himself and provide for himself, but they still have a strong bond.
Nichols, similarly to Harmonium, uses a metaphor to describe the importance of a mother to a daughter.
‘You were
water to me
deep and bold and fathoming’
We cannot survive without water and it makes up around two-thirds of our body-so Nichols tries to show that the mother of the speaker is an essential part of her daughter. ‘Fathoming’ suggests that her mother helped her to ‘fathom’-understand and work out life. This connects to the next stanza; “You were moon’s eye to me’. The...


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