Kenneth Slessor Synthesis Task - Short but concise

Essay by shelley686High School, 11th grade June 2006

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"How does Kenneth Slessor present his ideas in his poetry? Refer ro the poem you have just heard plus any poem set for study. Comment approaches to Criticism and different interpretations of the poem."

Kenneth Slessor is a successful Australian poet, famous for bringing the Australian countryside to urban readers. The poem, "Beach Burial" is an elegy for dead sailors of all nations washed ashore on the beach at El Alamein. Slessor conveys his many themes, particularly the 'futility of war' through language, structure and sound. These poems can be viewed from a variety of perspectives, including from psychoanalytical and feministic viewpoints.

In Beach Burial, an especially effective sound technique is onomatopoeia, used so that the readers can almost hear the deathly sounds of the battlefield. In stanza tow, Slessor writes: " Between the sob and clubbing of the gunfire". Although this is not a hard, sharp sound, the repetition of the letter 'b' breaks up the line so we no longer have the smooth, gentle tone of the first stanza.

Even though clubbing and gunfire are violent words, their main vowel sounds are soft, acting like the echo of a sob.

Beach Burial does not rhyme, for the reason that it gives a dimension of harsh reality. Beach Burial isn't written for the enjoyment of the reader, but to mourn the deaths of the thousands of soldiers that fought for our country. However, there are many examples of half rhyme in the text, which keep the poem flowing. An example is the phrase: "Softly and Humbly", which is used to describe the way in which the dead sailors make their way to the shore. We would not expect a war poem to open with the words "softly and humbly'. In this way, Slessor, without raising his 'voice', captures...