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Barn Owl Summary & Analysis
by Gwen Harwood

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"Barn Owl" was published in 1975 by Gwen Harwood, considered one of Australia's greatest poets, and has been widely taught and anthologized since. The poem, written in the first person, tells the story of an act of rebellion: the speaker's murder of a barn owl with their father's stolen gun. The poem uses vivid imagery, powerful symbolism, and carefully-chosen language to convey the brutal circumstances under which the speaker loses their innocence and comes of age. The poem is the first section of a two-part piece called "Father and Child."

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