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Poems although they can be appreciated individually are better understood if the reader sees them in the context of the poets other works One such poem that benefits from being approached in this way is Mother Who Gave Me Life Mother is one of several poems Harwood wrote about motherhood and the role of women in society The title and first line of Mother centralises the role of women and implies that giving life is not a brief moment of experience but a life-time of nurturing care influence and sacrifice This theme is also explored in the other women poems including Suburban Sonnet and An Impromptu for Anne Jennings In these poems Harwood portrays the role of women in the domestic sphere as a difficult one full of sacrifice and anguish but fulfilling in the end She does not condemn the role of women rather she celebrates it This is evident through the repetitious links of the women with symbols of domesticity In Mother the mothers face is compared to fine threadbare linen worn still good to the last and the daughters memories of her mother are those of the domestic scene a lamp on embroidered linen my supper set out your voice calling me in Harwood focuses on the menial everyday tasks women were expected to fulfil in order to compel the reader to recognise the importance of women in society In the women poems men are often marginalised or silenced all together They are merely seen in the background as the providers and power holders This emphasises the importance of women in these poems seeing them as the light in the darkness It is the light of a lamp and the mothers voice that remain long after darkness falls on my fathers house The women poems especially celebrate motherhood and a mothers influence on her child Mother and Anne Jennings both explore this in depth Harwood sees the mother as
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