“Diptych” by Robert Gray: Summary and Analysis
It is clear that uncovering the essence of oneself through experiences is a core theme in Grays “Diptych”. It begins with memories of his mother however is directly referring to the acceptance of his father. It is portrayed though a comparison of his mothers and father’s life in the context of how they impacted each other’s and Grays life using techniques and commentary to speak of his parents in a voice that is his own. Grays uses colloquial tone to uncover his discovery of his mother’s determination to protect “those flimsy leaves…. Small as mouse prints “the quote highlights the flowers’ insignificance while emphasising the mother’s determination.
Through this discovery he was able to realise that his mum may not always be there for him she will always be caring and will do what has to be done given she has time. ‘Waiting for my father, after pubs had closed’ he uses emotive language to put emphasis on the ‘waiting’ in his quote which shows how often his mum waited for his father even though he would come home drunk often. This has impacted Grays whole life due to his dads drinking problem. He felt that his mum had two personalities. ‘It was as though there were two of her, a harassed person, and a calm’ this quote highlights his mother’s complex personality along with the paradox of harassed and calm person also shows this. His relationship with his father is also represented in the poem.
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However, he felt quite distant with his father until the end in which he states that he has never felt closer to him. ‘My pocket knife slid sideways and pierced my hand’ the slicing of his hand represented as if him and his father were blood brothers. ‘And felt I needn’t anything to say’. This quote shows emotive language and how everything he has experienced with his father he finally accepted him for who he was. Diptych is a conversational poem in which represents the discovery of his acceptance of his father, mother and himself. By reminiscing on these events, it is revealed to him how the past has influenced and widen his understandings of himself and the world.
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