For EACH of the texts, analyze how the writer used symbolism and / or figurative language to develop an important idea. In the poems No Ordinary Sun and The Sea, to the Mountain, to the River by Hone Tuwhare, the poet used figurative language to develop the theme ‘destruction of environment. ’ By using simile, personification and imagery, Tuwhare expresses his sadness at the careless action of men and their continual destruction of nature. The Sea, to the Mountain, to the River is about the relationship between land and men.
In the poem, workers are building a dam to obtain electricity. Tuwhare wants people to realize that we are destroying the environment for the sake of progress without even caring about the effect and implications it will bring. In No Ordinary Sun, Tuwhare expresses his concern about the deadly effects of an atomic bomb explosion on humanity and nature as a whole. Again, people are destroying the environment for the sake of progress and in doing so; they risk other people’s lives.
Tuwhare used simile in the poem, The Sea, to the Mountain, to the River, to diminish the status of men to that of unthinking creatures. The example “as skilled as spiders” not only implies that men are unwanted by nature, like spiders to human, but also that they are considered as tiny, insignificant insects crawling over the face of the earth. Tuwhare wants the readers to see the workmen as a nuisance and pest, the way the nature see them. He’s appealing to the emotional side of the readers and makes them feel sorry for nature.
Personification is also used by Tuwhare to stress the interaction of nature and to help the readers see the sea, the river and the mountain as people like them, who feel sad and hurt by the actions of men. Tuwhare wants the readers to empathize with nature and be moved by its feelings. The river was personified as having its tongue torn out: “… to tear out the river’s tongue. ” This describes the damage men are doing to the environment. They are putting an end to the rivers ‘cacophonic… tossing’ by ‘tear[ing] out… [its] tongue. Tuwhare aims to make the reader feel angry with the workmen for being violent and destructive towards the river. Another use of personification is “the sea beckons…” This creates a link between the sea and the mountain, and also provides a positive connotation, making the sea seem friendly. Again, Tuwhare aims to make the readers identify with the sea and feel sorry for the damage the men are causing. The same effect is intended with the use of “austerely the mountains ponder. It makes the mountain seem old, slow and wise, like a living person. The last use of personification, “smoke-wreathed shoulder of a crouching hill,” aims to not only compare the land to a person but to imply that men have defeated nature. It’s already cowed, submissive. In The Sea, to the Mountain, to the River the use of simile establishes the perspective of the readers about the workmen, Tuwhare leads the readers to see them as despicable- destroying our environment for the sake of progress. Then, he uses personification for the same effect.
The readers empathize with the environment and consider the sea, the mountain and the river as people like them who has feelings. By doing this, Tuwhare appeals at the readers’ emotions, making them see how terrible it is to destroy the environment. While in the first poem, Tuwhare appeals to readers by encouraging them to feel what the nature is feeling, in No Ordinary Sun imagery is used to show the effects of a man-made weapon, atomic bomb and make them realize what would happen to them and the environment. Tuwhare used adjective to create images in the minds of the readers. [G]allant monsoon flash” and “dashing trade wind’s blast” are old-fashioned, positive sounding words that Tuwhare used to describe the monsoon and the wind. He wants the readers to know that compared to the bomb, these two are almost benign, almost nothing. Another example of imagery was in the last stanza: ‘shadowless mountains,’ ‘white plains’ and ‘drab sea floor. ’ This creates an image of a lifeless planet. Tuwhare is telling the readers, this is what happens. Everything will be destroyed- our lives, nature- all because we seek power and progress.
Tuwhare also used symbolism to help people understand how devastating an atomic bomb can be. He explored the irony of the comparison to show the big difference between ‘our’ sun and the ‘not ordinary’ sun. Our sun gives us life, energy and warmth. We need it to live. The other sun, the one mentioned in the poem, is a ‘monstrous’ sun. It kills people and annihilates the environment. By calling it monstrous, Tuwhare is implying that this sun is an unacceptable product of a merger between nature and man. Thus, what we created for power will destroy us.
Also, by using sun as a symbol for atomic bomb, the readers are more affected as the sun is directly related to our everyday lives. In this poem, Tuwhare made it clear how much we are affected when our environment is destroyed. We cannot live alone in this planet. Our hunger for power and progress blind us and we need to stop. Both poems used figurative language to engage the readers and to show the effects of our actions. Tuwhare’s message is very important as in today’s society, especially in New Zealand, destruction of environment for the sake of progress is not uncommon.
Earlier on March, news of national parks becoming mining grounds sparked protest from all over the country. The government believes that this will help New Zealand’s economy prosper. But are we really going to forsake the environment for the sake of progress? Also, North Korea’s nuclear testing hasn’t stopped. To further their power, the government of Korea ignores the devastating effects of nuclear bombs. Tuwhare’s poems The Sea, to the Mountain, to the River and No Ordinary Sun urges us to open our eyes and stop destroying our environment.