“Up the Wall” by Bruce Dawe Essay

“Up the Wall” by Bruce Dawe Essay

In the poem “Up the Wall,” Bruce Dawe narrates about the depressing existence of a housewife who is talking to his husband. The stay-at-home mother struggles with reality and her vision of the neighborhood, which seems uninviting, and craves for understanding, but the man does not notice it. Therefore, the author reflects on the challenges of family life by depicting the varying perceptions of its members.

In this piece, Dawe presents the pessimistic perspective of the woman regarding the circumstances of her life contrasted by her husband’s satisfaction from living. The portrayal of their difference is contained in the lines “If something goes wrong. I’m so alone!” and “It’s a quiet neighborhood, he tells his friends” (Dawe). These two expressions describe the conflicting views of the characters, in which the former is bored and desperate for a change, whereas the latter genuinely enjoys the calmness of the place. In order to convey this message, Dawe uses imagery telling about children carving “the mind up with the scalpels of their din” and contrasts this impression with irony in the words “They laugh. The matter ends.” These techniques allow him to efficiently depict both stances and draw the line between them. In this way, Dawe creates an atmosphere of dreary days, which reflects the lack of agreement in the family.

To summarize, the lives of the wife and the husband from the poem “Up the Wall,” written by Bruce Dawe, are a continuous struggle of the couple to understand each other. The presence of varying views adds to this conclusion by displaying unity as a significant component of good relationships. In turn, the futility of their attempts to see the world through the lens of another’s perspective contributes to despair.


Dawe, B. (2010). Up the wall. Deviant Art.

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