The Poetry of Harwood and Rayson’s Life After George

Every individual is entitled to a devoted and affectionate relationship with their parents, where each member in the relationship is committed to one another. One can only appreciate the absolute necessity of this, however, through the ability to view both the ramifications of the lack of such a relationship and the positive impacts of one. By exploring the influences of both negative and positive connections between parents and children, readers are provided with a holistic perspective on the significance of such a connection. These influences and their associated consequences are powerfully demonstrated through Hannie Rayson’s play Life After George and Gwen Harwood’s poems The Violets and Father and Child, by utilizing the key difference that both separates and connects them – the dynamic between the child and the parents.

The importance of an emotionally devoted relationship between parents and their child can only be explored once the lack of relationship is examined. Rayson’s Life After George displays this tragic lack of relationship through the implications and consequences associated with the loss. Both immediately and consistently through the text, Ana’s relationship with her parents is fraught with friction. Ana often addresses Beatrix and George with a lack of respect and excessive sarcasm. In Ana and Beatrix’s first conversation, an immediate atmosphere of tension and awkwardness is introduced through their word choice – ‘You could try a bit harder, don’t you think?’. Beatrix casually questions her daughter, leading to something reminiscent of an interrogation, filled with a cacophony of extremely personal and unnecessary questions. This displays Beatrix’s absence of motherly knowledge of boundaries, further underlining the dysfunction between her and her daughter. Evidently, the present atmosphere of rigidity is a result of the void in Ana and Beatrix’s mother-daughter relationship. Similarly, Ana …

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