Advanced Area Of Study Essay: Australian Identity

1100 words - 5 pages

What ideas and concepts about the Australian identity have you encountered in your study? Support your extended essay response with an analysis of at least 2 core and 2 related texts.
The notion of Australian Identity has many meanings and interpretations. As a result, the Australian Identity is quite diverse, and has changed throughout time. Dorothea Mackellar’s ‘My Country’ (1904) represents an Australian voice which explores the role of Australia’s landscape in defining its early identity; much like Max Dupain’s ‘Sunbaker’ (1939) which explores the ‘quintessential’ love of the landscape present in the Australian identity. On the other hand, Bruce Dawe’s ‘Life-cycle’ acts as a satirical ...view middle of the document...

This is emphasized in the repetition of the line ‘Core of my heart, my country!’ in the fourth and fifth stanzas, again highlighting her affection. As a result, Mackellar’s ‘My Country’ reflects on her unbridled love for the Australian landscape, which was a major aspect in the early definitions of Australian Identity.
Much like Mackellar’s My Country, Max Dupain’s modernist photograph, ‘Sunbaker’, conveys the ‘quintessential’ Australian love of the landscape. Conceived in a period of a regeneration of a national identity after the Great Depression, Sunbaker has been described as ‘probably the most widely recognized Australian photograph’. The photograph essentially depicts a black and white image of the head and shoulders of a man lying on a beach. The photo is divided into two main sections, with an empty area of sand in the lower half, and the bulk of the figure filling most of the upper section. The man is positioned in such a way that he seems to be embracing the sand, symbolizing a body merged with the primal forces of the land. Furthermore, the sun appears to be almost overhead and casts a large proportion of the body in a deep shadow, while accentuating the beads of water and dried salt on his arms and back; thus emphasizing the love of the beach and sea in the Australian lifestyle, much like ‘My Country’. Consequently, much like My Country, Dupain’s Sunbaker celebrates the intrinsic connection of Australian’s with the landscape, and accordingly a developing, post federation identity.
On the other hand, Bruce Dawes' Life-Cycle serves as an affectionate, satirical take on the importance of sports, namely AFL in the Australian Identity. In his poem, Football is parallel to the most important parts of the lives of people, - eg. Weddings and Births, and thus allows the reader an insight into an identity shaped by the love of sport, not landscape as highlighted in My Country and the Sunbaker. In the beginning, he replicates the Australian Voice with 'Carn, they cry, Carn'…. And uses puns such as ‘Hes a little Tiger’ to add humour. Furthermore, the use of elevated language and imagery to describe sport acts as a form of burlesque; lines such as 'daylight's roaring empryean', and 'like the voice of god' demonstrates this effect . He reinforces humour through the use of biblical puns - for these supporters, 'hot pies and potato crisps' are their 'bread and...

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