No Ordinary Sun Hone Tuwhare Essay

I myself believe it was a nuclear weapon:

raise them not sharply in supplication
to the bright enhaloed cloud.

If you think about what a mushroom cloud would look like from the inside in that very instant before it incinerates you, it would look like a halo - one would merely see the ring, not the whole "poof".

resilience for this is no mere axe
to blunt nor fire to smother.

Note that this means that this is no ordinary explosion. Many standard bombs/explosions are sort of "fiery" and are like a figurative axe - they cut things down, crumble things. But an atomic bomb is different - it completely incinerates things close to the blast, leaving only a darker mark that was the object's shadow.

This is no gallant monsoon’s flash,
no dashing trade wind’s blast.

Flashes/blasts are also associated with the atomic bomb. Now, both of these above could probably be construed into thinking of it as a normal bomb, instead of an atomic bomb, but the real clincher for me is

The fading green of your magic
emanations shall not make pure again
these polluted skies . . . for this
is no ordinary sun.

"these polluted skies" - the atomic bomb was unlike other bombs in that instead of just devastation, it pollutes land for many years. Atomic bombs (and their direct descendants hydrogen bombs) have become many, many times more powerful, and therefore that much more polluting, than the only atomic bombs to be dropped.

Also, "for this / is no ordinary sun" - a famous phrase related to the atomic bomb is "a flash brighter than the sun".

O tree
in the shadowless mountains
the white plains and
the drab sea floor
your end at last is written.

Here, there's an interesting point to consider. Even after an explosion, you can come back after a little bit, and see growth, rebirth. After a fire, after natural disasters, you can also see rebirth. A scene I like to think of is in Disney's Fantasia - after the volcano erupts, it all comes back.

With an atomic bomb, it doesn't work like that. If you look at the area of the Chernobyl disaster, lifeforms are still being born with mutations. There is a whole forest whose needles have turned red from the radiation.

I think this all together points fairly clearly towards the poem referencing an atomic bomb.

Another point - "Tree let your arms fall" is repeated in the poem. The symbolism there is that of giving up, giving in. There is nothing resistance can do. There is nothing the tree can do against the power of the atomic bomb. It can resist a fire with thick bark. It can resist a storm with its deep roots. It can resist, even, an explosion. But the sun is no ordinary one, and it must give in. Its end "is at last written".


Interestingly enough, this is not the only time a tree appears in Tuwhare's poetry. In Friend, he writes for the last stanza

Perhaps the tree
will strike fresh roots again:
give soothing shade to a hurt and
troubled world.

That is the most relevant passage involving a tree, but a tree appears in many of his poems.

A tree, in his mind, if you look at that last stanza, gives relief, it soothes. An atomic bomb is almost the exact antithesis of that. It is utter destruction. In this context, when the tree, relief, is told to give up - give in - to the atomic bomb, that says a lot about what he thought.

Presentation on theme: "No Ordinary Sun By Hone Tuwhare."— Presentation transcript:

1 No Ordinary SunBy Hone Tuwhare

2 Mood and ToneTone and mood both deal with the emotions centred around a piece of writing. Though they seem similar and can in fact be related, they are in fact quite different.

3 ToneTone is the writer’s/director’s attitude toward a subject. While journalistic writing theoretically has a tone of distance and objectivity, all other writing can have various tones.If we were to read a description of a first date that included words and phrases like “dreaded” and “my buddies forced me to go on the date”, we could assume that the individual didn’t really enjoy the date.

4 MoodMood is the atmosphere of a piece of writing; it’s the emotions a text arouses in a reader.

5 Hone Tuwhare Born in Kaipara in 1922. Died in Otago 2008.
Tribal affiliations; Ngapuhi, Ngati Korokoro, Ngati Tautahi, Te Popoto, Uri-O-Hau.Apprenticed and worked as a boilermaker.Played a very active role in the Trade Union Movement – eventually kicked out for being a troublemaker.Began writing poetry seriously at the age of 34.Published many poems in magazines and a number of poetry collections."No Ordinary Sun" was published in 1964 and is still considered one of his most powerful poems. He was the first maori (writing in English) to have poetry published in NZ.

6 No Ordinary Sun Unfamiliar Words Supplication Resilience
a humble and sincere appeal to somebody who has the power to grant a requestResiliencethe ability to recover quickly from setbacks

7 No Ordinary Sun Unfamiliar Words Deferential
Showing or expressing polite respect or courtesyArdourGreat passion, enthusiasm, or eagerness

8 No Ordinary Sun Unfamiliar Words Unheeding Paying little attention
Vain entreatiesHopeless appeal, ineffective request

9 No Ordinary Sun Unfamiliar Words Gallant monsoon
Grand and majestic ‘wave’/’wind’Trade windA wind that blows towards the equator - a major component of the global weather system

10 No Ordinary Sun Unfamiliar Words enhaloed
A circle/ring of light (in this instance around the cloud)

11 No Ordinary SunPersonification

12 No Ordinary Sun Personification Let your arms lack toughness
Who is the poet addressing?

13 No Ordinary Sun Personification Let your arms lack toughness
Who is the poet addressing?The tree

14 No Ordinary Sun Let your arms lack toughness
What other instances of personification can you find in the poem?

15 No Ordinary Sun Personification Let your arms lack toughness
What other instances of personification can you find in the poem?O tree/…a deferential head/…your naked arms fall/…More?

16 No Ordinary Sun – In pairs
Highlight and count the number of times the words no, not, nor are used in the first four verses.What does their use suggest?

17 No Ordinary Sun – In pairs
What kind of associations do the words supplication and enhaloed have?

18 No Ordinary Sun – In pairs
What relationship does an axe and fire usually have to a tree?How is the use of this in line five, verse one connected to the bright enhaloed cloud?

19 No Ordinary Sun – In pairs
What picture of the tree is suggested in verse two with the wordsrising sap, inclining head, stirring to the tickle of the rain?

20 No Ordinary Sun – In pairs
What three activities does verse 3 suggest that the tree used to be involved in before?

21 No Ordinary Sun – In pairs
What three activities does verse 3 suggest that the tree used to be involved in before?Wreathed with birds, shield and cool the loversBefore what?

22 No Ordinary Sun – In pairs
What is the connection between..CLOUDMONSTROUS SUNRADIANT BALLFLASHBLASTWhat image do you have in your mind when reading these words?

23 No Ordinary Sun – In pairs

24 No Ordinary Sun – In pairs
Poetic DevicesAlliterationPersonificationAssonanceRhymeRhythmFind at least three examples for each in the poem.

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