Representation Of Australia Essay

1555 words - 7 pages

Journal EntryNikita SmitThe feature article 'At Sea with the America's Cup' written by American author; P.J. Rourke and the expository text 'Down Under' by other American author; Bill Bryson both focuses on the representation of Australia and Australians; in different ways. P.J. Rourke positions his readers to see Australia as over the top; and Australians as unsophisticated. Bill Bryson on the other hand positions his readers to see Australia as insignificant and isolated; and Australians as relaxed, risk taking individuals. This is done through the use of conventions such as selection of detail, selection of language, and rhetorical devices (such as repetition) to promote the authors ...view middle of the document...

Rourke is also critical of the Australian language, claiming that it is "easier to learn than boat talk… a vocabulary of about six words." For example, "g'day, which means hello" "…mate which is a folksy combination of 'excuse me sir' and 'hey you'", "good on ya which means 'that's nice'" and "fair dinkum which doesn't mean much of anything". However, he does highlight the fact that Australians have more synonyms for 'vomit'. Thus he reinforces the idea that Australians are unsophisticated.In the opening paragraph of the expository text 'Down Under', Bill Bryson includes his opinions about forgetting who the Prime Minister of Australia is; and feeling "guilty" about it. This automatically represents Australia as an isolated country due to the fact that Bryson (who represents Americans) do not know who runs the country. Bryson includes statistics and facts such as the comparison of the Australian population against the Chinese population as well as the comparison of Australia as an economic entity compared to one American state. For example, "Australia is, after all, mostly empty… about 19 million… small by world standards - China grows by a larger amount each year… as an economic entity, it is about the same size as Illinois." Facts like these help to represent Australia as insignificant due to the small population being nothing compared to China, and as an economic entity, the same size as one out of the fifty states of America. Bryson also includes facts about the 1993 non-governmental atomic bomb set off by members of the Japanese doomsday cult. He also includes facts about the large meteorite strike resulting in no crater to be found; as a result of the meteor. For example, "The upshot is that scientists puzzled over the incident for a day or two, the filed it away as an unexplained curiosity". This helps to represent Australians relaxed people due to their calm attitude towards these incidents. Bryson includes the more extreme experiences of his visit to Australia in his book (such as the boogy boarding with Deirdre), rather than the positive relaxed experiences. This is helps to represent Australians as tough, risk takers. For example the conversation between Bryson, Deirdre and Glenn:'What about the sharks?' I asked uneasily.'Oh, there's hardly any sharks here. Glenn, how long has it been since someone has been killed by a shark?''Oh, ages… Couple of months at least.''Couple of months?' I squealed.This conversation not only reflects the relaxed attitude Australians have but it also reflects Bryson's fear and disbelief of Australian past-times; thus representing Australians as laid back people that don't take danger seriously. Bryson makes use of anecdotes when he mentions Deirdre's response to him as it represents the danger he had to face during the activity.Although Rourke appears to be putting Australia and Australians down, he does this through humour and making use of colloquial language. For...

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