Alienation - Essay

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Alienation is defined as; isolation from a group or an activity to which one should belong or in which one should be involved, but the definition can change depending on a person’s experience. Alienation can come across in many different feeling’s such as powerlessness – helpless and ineffectual, meaninglessness – having no significance, normlessness – lack of social norms, cultural estrangement and social isolation. In the three chosen texts; “Enter Without So Much As Knocking” by Bruce Dawe, “Capitalism and Alienation” by Danielle Pioli and “ Be My Brother” by Geneueve Clay, alienation is forced upon the characters by external forces.

In the poem “Enter Without So Much As Knocking” by Bruce Dawe, the alienation present is determined largely by external forces. This external force is consumerism, which causes the unnamed character to alienate himself and others. Powerlessness and meaninglessness are two of the major types of alienation that are present. This comes across with the use of short, sharp sentences, which are very unemotional and detached. This detachment is shown through the unnamed character and his unnamed family which also comes across as a stereotypic family of the nineteen sixties. Advertising jargon is added to give more effect; “economy-sized mum, Anthony Squires-Coolstream-Summerweight dad…”, which gives a sense of meaninglessness about the family and main character. Dawe uses different types of dialogue, such as conversations and monologues, to develop the concept of alienation. This concept comes from an omniscient third person narrator with voices of other characters; such as the child’s mum and the child himself, to add effect. This creates a “see all” view on the alienation which is backed up by shallow, one-sided dialogue. An example of this comes from the fifth and sixth stanza, when the child (which is grown up) dialogue comes across as harsh, highlighting the change from innocent boy to selfish man. The character hasn’t mentioned family until this point, which he then criticizes. The use of imagery is also a way Dawe shows alienation. This is largely used in the third stanza. It tells how the boy is surrounded by so much consumerism and commercialism, such as the fifty-foot screen which dwarfs the boy creating powerlessness; he is able to still enjoy a natural wonder, the stars, which haven’t been changed by man. With this the use of a simile tells us that the boy has a unusual fear to nature, “like kids at the circus who never go quite close enough…”, which creates a sense of alienation to nature because of the power of consumerism and how everything is man-made. “Enter Without So Much As Knocking” by Bruce Dawe, shows us that alienation is caused by external forces.

In the picture “Capitalism and Alienation” by Danielle Pioli, alienation is also determined by an external force. The external force which is shown is capitalism, which causes the lower and middle class workers to be alienated. Once again the main types of alienation present are powerlessness and meaninglessness. In this picture vector lines and a demand shot leads the eye to a grinning pig, with red eyes. This pig represents the rich and powerful bosses from capitalist countries. This is shown through the gold teeth and the vector lines all heading towards him. The brush strokes are also clear and sharp increasing this sense of power about the pig. The alienation is mainly shown through the worker, who is painted below the pig which already creates a sense of powerlessness and meaninglessness about the worker. The worker is also placed near the bottom of the picture and is surrounded by blackness unlike the pig that has a green shade around him. This creates the sense that the worker is “left in the dark”. The picture also shows the worker with his eyes sewn shut and with duct tape around his mouth. This gives the impression that the worker is powerlessness. The taped over tells us that he cannot voice...
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