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Bruce Dawe's "Enter Without So Much As Knocking": An Analysis

1449 words - 6 pages

Enter Without So Much As Knocking (p 15 of Sometimes Gladness)"Remember, man, thou art but dust, and unto dust though shalt return." This is a translation of the quotation which begins Dawe's poem, Enter Without So Much As Knocking. The quote reminds us that life is not forever; and that we are all faced with mortality.The poem itself is discussing a man's journey from birth to death and how all around him life is interpreted by material possessions. At the beginning of the first stanza, the sentences have been made very short and simple, as if to demonstrate the thoughts of a new born child. The first voice that the baby hears when he is born is Bobby Dazzler, one of Australia's first game shows. The very first thing that the baby hears is not the voice of his mother, nor the voice of his father, but the voice of materialism. This first stanza instantly creates the feeling of a home in the 1950s, where television was something new. The ellipsis that connects the first and second stanzas demonstrates a change in time, in this case, a change of a couple of years.The words used in the second stanza, such as "well-equipped" and "economy-size", are words that were constantly used in commercials at the time, as if life was being sold to the child. This use of a commercial like structure is also evident in the way that the family is depicted, each with its own stereotype: an "Economy Sized Mum", a sexist description typical to the 50s; an "Anthony Squires - Coolstream - Summerweight Dad", Anthony Squires referring to an Australian brand of suit; and "two other kids straight off the Junior Department Rack", referring to the baby's siblings, each free of gender and age and recognised only by the type of clothing that they wear. From these two stanzas, Dawe is able to create not only a vivid image of the typical family in the 1950s, but also give us an insight to the TV culture that they are living and what effect it has on the family.The thirds stanza discusses what happens when the Mum character wins the Luck's-A-Fortch Tricky-Tune Quiz. She takes the boy shopping. They set off in the "good-as-new station-wagon", yet more advertising jargon which describes the family's second-hand car. The short phrases that follow are describing a child's view of a road trip and the many rules that come with it. The statements begin as typical road warnings "WALK. DON'T WALK." and become more satirical as they continue, for example "NO BREATHING EXCEPT BY ORDER". These phrases represent the signs that a child may recognise on a trip. After these, there are the sounds that are present on a car trip, as well as the sound of Mum complaining. The numerous "beeps" that are present may represent both the beeping of a car horn as well as censorship of swear words, a likely situation especially in the last capitalised beep. This situation creates an image or a race to get somewhere. It could be seen as Dawe's expression of likening a traffic jam in the hurry to get to...

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