We have chosen this poem to analyse today as we thought that it would be one that you could all relate to. Not necessarily to the homeless man, but to the topic of addiction. Nearly every one here would have known someone who has suffered from an addiction, and knows the effect that it has on not only the addict, but their families.
It also highlights the ignorance in today’s society, as many are unaware of their sad existence. Main Idea The poem Metho Drinker by Judith Wright tells the story of a homeless man and his addiction to Methylated Spirits, an addiction which is slowly killing him.
Living in winter’s harsh conditions “under the death of winters leaves he lies” he hides away from society. He is alone and ‘cries to nothing and the terrible night’ as he has nothing and there is no one around him. So he turns to the one thing in his life that keeps him warm, methylated spirits. Personification The poem continuously uses personification, as a way of interpreting the man’s relationship with the bottle. The bottle is personified as ‘his girl’, his only companion. His woman of fire who creeps to his heart and sets a candle there”, this shows his love and affection for this ‘woman’. In the next two lines his addiction to Metho becomes evident, as Wright introduces the metaphor of “melting away his flesh… to eat the nerve that tethers him in time” as the addiction is slowly killing him. the Metho burns him as he drinks it “to eat the nerve that tethers him in time”. He drinks it to take his pain away. The candle burning keeps him warm inside and provides him with warmth that he can not find on the streets.
Similes Light is compared to ‘knives; whose thrust I cannot turn’ which suggests the pain that light brings to the drinker. Time, to the man, is a never ending trouble. By drinking the Methylated spirits he feels like he is escaping time and escaping from the troubles in his life. “He is uneasy under her kiss/and winces from that acid of her desire”. This shows how the metho is killing him but the desire and need for ‘her’ or ‘it’ is too strong to stop and his addiction has taken over.
Symbolism Symbolism is used in the poem as the woman and his apparent love and desire for her symbolises the bottle of Methylated Spirits and his addiction. Voice The voice of the poem is written in third person. This technique is used in a way to show an outsider’s perception of the homeless man. Structure The structure is a technique that has been used in this poem. The first stanza in the poem sets the scene for the reader, and helps to give the basic story of the man.
It shows how the drinker ‘cries to nothing and the terrible night’ and shows his hate for time, light and society’s cruelty. Whereas in the second stanza introduces the drinker and his relationship with the bottle. Figurative language Figurative language is used in the poem when describing the effect that the Metho has on the drinker. It ‘melts away the flesh that hides the bone to eat the nerve that tethers him’, this is a non literal phrase, but again shows the feeling that the Metho creates in him, further causing his addiction.