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Bruce Dawe Essay

1341 words - 5 pages

The Second World War changed many things: the face of Europe, the balance of world power, and, perhaps less notably, the perception of the common Australian. From Federation day to the 1940s, most poets wrote about the ideal 'aussie'; the strong, silent outback-dweller; the Man from Snowy River or the Man who went to Ironbark. The 1950s were a time of change, and Australian Literature changed too, from aggrandizing the increasingly rare 'Dundee's, to noting the average Australian living in suburbia with the other four-fifths of the population. This essay will cite specific examples of poems of a man commonly regarded as Australia's greatest living poet from 1950 to 1990. Through Bruce Dawe's poetry the true Australian persona has arisen to global knowledge.One of Bruce Dawes most famous poems, written in the 1950s, is Enter Without So Much As Knocking. In this poem he highlights the plight of a 'modern' man who slowly comes to realize and embrace the façade surrounding suburban life and its incessant consumerism. "Well-equipped, smoothly-run, economy-size"These terms give the feeling of mass production - just as well-equipped, smoothly-run, economy-size cars; these sorts of households must have been very common. Again the fact that these people lack individuality is being focused on and it is disputed whether this is correct. The rest of the family are presented as stereotypes. Whereas in the days of The Man From Snowy River, where individuality, rebelliousness and going against the grain are commonplace and celebrated as courageous, in this world, it would seem 'inefficient'. The poem itself is discussing a man's journey from birth to death and how all around him life is interpreted by material possessions. A famous quote from this poem shows the change that mechanized and money hungry living brings to man. "Anyway, pretty soon he was old enough to be realistic like every other godless money-hungry back-stabbing miserable so-and-so". This is a dramatic transformation from the poems of war and outback mateship, of jumping on a grenade to save your friends in the foxhole. Now, "It's Number One every time for this chicken, hit wherever you see a head and kick whoever's down". Clearly, Dawe is conscious of the changes affecting Australian persona.Bruce Dawe often uses humour to devastating effect. In Pigeons also are a way of life, a city councilor is mocked for his petty-mindedness, highlighting the utter bureaucracy that society and everyday life has become. "The problem was, he brooded overmuch, and took things personally that were not meant, so that each juvenile delinquency of nature seemed an outrage aimed at him" This quote encapsulates the trivial nature of the councilor, that he considered nature juvenile, and that he was too puffed-up in his self importance to respect habits that have and will outlast him, his city and certainly his civilization. This is done to bring to light the incredible conceit of man in relation to the...

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