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How Effective Is Dawe In Exploring Issues Relating To Identity In Contemporary Australian Society?

1401 words - 6 pages

Question: How effective is Dawe in exploring issues relating to identity in contemporary Australian Society?
Bruce Dawe is one of Australia’s most prized Poet’s of this last half century. Bruce Dawe through his works, particularly through; Katrina, Enter without so much as knocking, Weapons Training and life cycle, explores issues relating to Identity in Australian contemporary society. Issues that he envelopes and faces include the context of the time period he writes in/or about, the Fragility of life and death, a sense of Family and community sense if identity. He achieves all of this through colloquial expressions, intensely un/personal language, figurative language and situations of ...view middle of the document...

Dawe in this poem writes about the Vietnam war, which Australia was very much involved. This poem can also be taken from the Second World War too. In Weapons Training” Dawe explores the harshness and brutality of war, in which many Australian men in their lives have to step up to. In this diamatic monologue, the sergeant is explaining the severity of war and the real life consequences it follows. Dawe had included some of his own memories of the Vietnam War in Weapons Training which gives the poem more authenticity and realism. War has been a part of Australian societies since its federation in 1901m with the The Boer war, which was soon followed by the Great War, and then WWII. War was very much and is still a part of our everyday lives such as the war in Iraq, present day. Therefore by constructing a Poem which is so carefully articulated without showing a particular detail of any war, it immensely appeals to old and modern day Australians. Australian expressions are used throughout the poem to illustrate a sense of pride and belonging on what the Drill sergeant and troops are fighting for. It adds to the characters, showing boldness and national identity, such as “You’ve copped the bloody lot like I said”. Contemporary Australians can relate to this text as the issue is still very much present and the language used in the poem is still foundationally a part of today’s’ language.

Katrina is one of the saddest poems Dawe has ever written, being an intensely personal one, and dealing with the impending death of a baby. Modern Australian societies sadly can relate to this topic, with it being the fragility of life and death. This distressing and sorrowful text, underlines a true sense of innocence and the woes of life as Katrina, the baby, is “between earth and sky”. Her future is unknown and in greater hands of being. Many Australian people come across this situation of helplessness in their lives, in which nothing can be done except to have faith. This kind of is a wakeup call and realisation on how humans today don’t have control over everything that happens in their lives. The vulnerability of the human condition is seen through the baby’s illness. None of man’s medical science can save Katrina, which further leads to the helplessness of the situation. Many Australians by reading this poem will feel total sadness for the state of affairs that Dawe describes which therefore affects many contemporary Australian societies. Dawe explores this by including questions and un-certainties, such as “Is your life Opening again or closing finally?” Dawe’s contrast between her and her twin brother’s “two month old vigour” hurts the narrator but indicates the ultimate frailty of the baby to the audience.
Weapons Training is a harsh realisation of the torments and harshness of war. The narrator, which is the army sergeant, in a way is violently addressing his troops, settling the soldiers with drilled precision while explaining a variety of army...

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