How Effective Is Dawe in Exploring Issues Relating to Identity in Contemporary Australian Society

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 his characters are placed in that many Australians can refer themselves to.
The Australian identity throughout Enter is very much present through the context that Dawe writes in. He makes references to iconic Australian personalities such as ???Bobby Dazzler??? and in a way makes people reminisce about the old Australian culture, mentioning the local drive throughs watching the ???fifty foot screen???. Dawe includes the characters family in the poem, representing a typical and average family of the time with an ???economy sized mum??? and ???two other kids straight off the junior department rack???. Dawe uses items in his poem, adding to the authenticity and contextual structure he follows with throughout the poem, using old currency terms and vehicles that typically represent the time; ???took him shopping in the good-as-new station-wagon (495 pounds dep. At Reno??™s). Dawe also includes contextual events and experiences of that time era, mentioning the circus in Enter. This contextual issue that Dawe explores in enter, is important for Australian societies today because it was the structure and foundations of our communities present day.
The issues relating to identity contextually in ???Weapons Training??? are immensely part of Australian identity today. 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 procedures. As I said in paragraph 2, war has been part of the Australian identity since Australia??™s federacy in 1901, and its impact on everyday lives is very much present within our communities today. Dawe explores the fragility of life in Weapons Training very much so, explaining that in war there are no second chances, one mistake, and your dead as illustrated when the drill sergeant tells the marine to reload his gun quick, however his is too slow and is ???Dead Dead Dead???. These blunt words emphasis the weight of the situation and ideals of war. Dawe uses repetition here to convey the seriousness and realism on what they are up against. The sergeant bluntly communicates here that everybody else??™s lives are in each other??™s hands.
The Family identity in Katrina is very much present and can be related to modern day Australian societies. Firstly, Katrina is in a typical Australian nuclear family (2 adults 2 children). Dawe in this poem is extremely personal with his narrator. We kind of get the idea that the narrator is the father, having an extremely close bond with the ill-fated Katrina. Katrina emphasises the sense of belonging to a family and how that sense can be positive or negative. We feel deeply for the father and mother??™s grief over their daughter and how Dawe contrasts her with her brother ???two month old vigour???. This poem is very emotive and confronting, with Dawe capturing the moment incredibly well. This sense of family identity is apparent in all Australian communities today, and the stresses it brings and puts forward is also evident in the poem and in our lives we live each and every day.
Family/ community identity in Life Cycle is constructively the basis of the whole poem.???When children are born in Victoria they are wrapped in the club colours…having already begun a life time??™s barracking???. This gives us the impression that people??™s lives here are not constructed by nature but by nurture. The children are brought into this basically harmless forced environment, in which rules goals and ideals are already set for them. AFL clubs (Australian football league) by many Australians, particularly Melburnians is considered to be something that they all want to belong to. Their whole attitude is tied up in their support of a football team and their lives revolve around this support. This is present in many Australian societies, not just in the form of sport, but in forums, ideological groups, similarity groups and even families. In Life Cycle Dawe shows how people change their living patterns to accommodate football and are lost without it. Dawe associates this sense of belonging with religion and things that go with such strong belief. An example of this sense of group belonging/identity is ???And the tides of life will be the tides of the home team??™s fortunes???. Dawe conveys that being part of such a group is that meaningful and important to a person??™s life that the highs and lows of the group greatly affect on how the person feels such as ???the reckless proposal after the one point win???. Here the two people are ecstatic over an event in the group that the man proposed to his lover. This sense of identity and issue of family identity is very much present in all Australian societies.

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