Language and style

To better understand the poem “Son of Mine” by Kath Walker, we must address its language and style.

Playing with language

The poem “Son of Mine” is quite straightforward. The poet does not really play with language; she simply renders facts about the troubled and tense past of Aboriginals who have suffered because of the whites. There are no hidden meanings in the poem; everything is out in the open. Because of this, we can say that the poem presents in an open and clear way Kath Walker’s personal opinion about the Aboriginal condition in Australia.

Tense of the verbs

The poem “Son of Mine” employs a mixture of tenses. In the first stanza, for instance, the poet employs present tense simple: “search” (l. 1), “tell” (l. 4). The use of present simple suggests the constant tension in the son’s eyes and his constant search for identity.

Stanza 2 employs conditional forms: “could” (l. 5, l. 6). Here, the poet used conditionals in order to show that she has a choice when it comes to telling her son the true story of Aboriginals. She could tell him about the traumatic aspects of Aboriginal life, but she chooses not to.

Stanza 3 employs future tense and conditionals. The future tense is used to depict the mother’s decision: “I’ll tell instead of brave and fine” (l. 9). She has decided not to perpetuate hatred and sent it to another g...

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