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Giuseppe essay poetry

How does Ford create meaning through the poetic techniques he uses?
Ford uses the mermaid as a symbol of oppression and injustice. In mythology, mermaids have beautiful
appearances and their voices are one which captivates a listener and lures them in. As a result, a silent
mermaid would be significant as it could convey the destruction of the irreplaceable as a result of
conflict and violence. The idea of the of the mermaid woman being ‘butchered’ dehumanises the
character as well as being displaced from wet areas to ‘dry and dusty ground’, showing the lack of
regard the men take in the mermaid as they deny her any humanity.However, this point also conveys
that the mermaid has turned from a human-like character into something consumable and less
important. The mermaid ‘screamed like a woman in terrible fear’ emphasises the pain and anguish the
mermaid is experiencing as well as being presented as ‘the other’, in order to validate their cruel
behaviour. Ford may have included the mermaid as a symbol of the prejudice imposed by society onto
those deemed outcasts. He is on the autistic spectrum, and this has had a large influence on his work
due to possible personal experiences of feeling like an outsider.
Listing used by Ford shows the Mermaid ‘was butchered…by a doctor, a fishmonger, and certain others’.
This illustrates the complexity of the mermaid and the confusion that follows as doctors are for humans,
so then a fishmonger is mentioned because supposedly that is the alternative for a fish. However, the
mermaid is composed of both fish and human and therefore Ford presents the issue of the liminal, in
which the mermaid cannot transgress to allow clarity of the situation. Another interpretation that links
to this is war as sometimes there is not a certain category it can be put in and therefore may not have a
valid reason for the violence.
Additionally, the use of pronouns contributes to the dehumanising tone of the poem as the men refer to
the mermaid as ‘she’ and ‘it’. In the second stanza, the men view the mermaid as an ‘it’ but previously
referred to her as a ‘woman’, therefore the changing pronouns show the overall confusion regarding the
mermaid and their attempts to reduce her to nothing in order to continue their behaviour. The uncle
may feel better killing the mermaid if she is reduced to little significance rather than murdering a
human. This can also relate to war as opposing sides dehumanise each other to make their killings feel
better and worthy for the cause.