Underlying themes in Australian poetry explores the fundamentals of human condition, through definitive experiences and deep connections to memories. In Gwen Harwood’s poem “The Glass Jar” exhibits the changing self perception of childhood faith through the gradual loss of innocence. Harwood’s other poem “At Mornington” accentuates the value of appreciating life and memories in response to the passing of time. Whilst, in A.D. Hope’s poem “Australia” demonstrates the author’s patriotism by exemplifying the lack of individualism in Australian society. Thus, underlying notions central to human conditions, as portrayed and delved into within Australian poetry, allow readers to perceive another level of interactivity, consequently leading to certain correlating emotions without having confront these implications present in the text.
In the poem “The Glass Jar”, the child’s firm dependence and faith in the glass jar is challenged against his fear of the darkness, resulting in his loss of childhood innocence. The child’s uncertain and fragile state is established in the opening lines of the poem “A child one summer’s evening”. The undeniable innocence of the child is acquitted by the simplistic language in the first stanza, which allows for common implications of the difficulties in childhood to be deeply sympathised. Harwood also demonstrates the child’s innocence through the accumulation of biblical allusions, in which the “sun’s disciples” expresses the child’s faith in the light. His sense of security, stability and salvation is denoted in the metaphor “this host, this pulse of light beside his bed”, thus his total belief in the glass jar is a result of childhood innocence. The monumental loss of the child’s innocence is demonstrated through his experiences at night. In stanza four, where the boy discovers the truth of the “glass jar”, begins in a hopeful tone, as the child’s total belief in the glass jar ,will disperse the demons within his bedroom. The child’s hope, and naive belief in the glass jar, is opposed to his eye open experience, highlighted in “Then hope fell headlong from its eagle height”. The boy is scarred with emotions of defeat and betrayal, and it is through this realisation has acted as catalysed in his loss of innocence. The child is forced to endure the terror alone in his bedroom, as a result the child seeks refuge in his mother’s arm. His fears are only exacerbated, as he witness his parent’s coupling. In the child’s perception, the father is symbolic of the devil “His father held fiddle and bow” and conveys the child has intolerable dislike towards his own father, reflecting the Oedipus complex. The child longs for his mother’s comfort but is ceased by his father’s act of love, thus he grows envy of the love his own father is receiving. This comparison highlights the cyclical nature of his fears and reflects the child’s imaginative growth, with nightmare that he is unable to comprehend. Thus, the changing self perception of the childhood faith reveals the difficulties in his understanding of the mature world, and his loss of innocence.
In the poem “At Mornington”, recounts of an early childhood experience, in which the persona seeks reconciliation with the past and the future through acceptance and the value of memories. The first stanza of the poem depicts the fearlessness and uncertainty of childhood, deriving from the lack of understanding of death.