Throughout this essay I am going to explore how Plath characterises her attitude towards motherhood, explore how Plath conveys a sense of distance between mother and child, and also explore how Plath’s language choice highlights the theme of separation and awakening. I am also going to explore Clark’s unsure view towards motherhood, explore how Clarke conveys a central theme of hostility and struggle between mother and child, and will also explore how Clarke represents a continued sense of anxiety towards motherhood and independence.
Then I will compare and contrast how both poets language choice represents their thoughts and feeling towards motherhood. The poem “Catrin” by Gillian Clarke is about the loving relationship between mother and daughter. It looks at two separate conflicts between them: the birth, then one night about twelve or fourteen years later. Clarke is writing about her own relationship with her daughter. She seems confused between enjoying fact that her child is growing up, but also not liking her fight for independence. Although it is a very personal poem, it could be about any relationship between a mother and child.
Catrin is made up of short lines divided into two stanzas. One stanza takes us through Catrin’s birth, and one the skating incident. The pause between them makes the reader wonder what took place in the years between Catrin’s birth and her teenage years. The first stanza is in the past tense, as Clarke remembers and relives the birth of her daughter. However, the second stanza is in the present tense. This suggests that a struggle is still going on after about 13 years and that their love is still as deep and complex as ever. Clarke speaks directly to her child, Catrin. She says in the very first line that she “can remember you child”.
The effect this has on the readier is drawing us into the poem as if we are the daughter, and it is us that she is speaking to, drawing you into the poem also helps build up an image in your mind. The poem begins in the labour ward of the hospital: it is ‘hot’ and ‘white’ which indicates a very sterile and clean. Further on it is seen as ‘a square environmental blank’ and a ‘glass tank’. I think Clarke uses so much emphasis on the hospital building because this is a very important day in her life and the hospital is where she wants to be, and will probably be one of the happiest and weirdest day to remember.