Australian Poetry Essay

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“Australian poetry gives us insight into the human condition.” Discuss this statement with reference to at least 3 poems.

Human condition encompasses the unique and inevitable features of being human. It includes all aspects of human behaviour, irreducible part of humanity that is inherent and not dependent on factors such as gender, race or class. Human condition also includes concerns such as the meaning of life and anxiety regarding the inescapability of death. The techniques used in the poems ‘Five Bells’ and ‘William Street’ by Kenneth Slessor and ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’ by Paul Kelly give us insight into the human condition. The poem ‘Five Bells’ is about the death of Joe Lynch, the poet’s colleague who drowned in the water by jumping off Sydney Ferry ten years before this poem is written. The words ‘five bells’ symbolizes time, and it is constantly repeated in the poem to emphasize that the poem is all about time. ‘Five bells’ measures how time passes and Slessor is telling the audience that time and life passes too quickly. The stanzas are not the same in length, which symbolizes Slessor’s flowing and unstable memory and mood by the time he wrote this poem. Slessor shows his traumatism of Joe’s death in the quote ‘But I hear nothing, nothing…only bells’ and ‘Your echoes die, your voice is drowned by Life...’ Slessor writes ‘Life’ with a capital letter because he obviously thinks that life is so important and asks questions about life and the meaning of life. Rhetorical question is used in the quote ‘Why do I think of you dead man, why thieve these profitless lodgings from the flukes of thought Anchored in Time?’ Slessor uses metaphor in ‘Anchored in Time’ to tell the audience about his deep sadness about Joe’s death and the shortness of life. He also uses hyperbole in ‘The night you died, I felt your eardrums crack’ to describe Joe’s unexpected and shocking drowning. The onomatopoeia ‘crack’ makes the reader actually hear and feel the...
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