Ballad and Paterson

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Voices are powerful things. A whisper can destroy a friendship; a scream can terrify an audience. Without a voice, would we even be noticed? The way you speak often tells others more about yourself than what you actually say. It reveals how you understand the world and others.

Composers, guided by their contexts and personal opinions, create distinctive voices through the distinct use of literary techniques to convey unique perspectives on others and the world. Banjo Paterson’s poems, ‘In Defence of the Bush’ and ‘Mulga Bill’s Bicycle’ and Anthony Brown’s picture book, ‘Voices in the Park’, use voices to

depict their very unique perspectives on the world and people. Through techniques such as juxtaposition, textual form and creation of interesting personalities, both composers convey specific views on class difference, personality and place.

Composers use juxtaposition and comparison to reveal class difference in voices. Paterson’s ‘In Defence of the Bush’ conveys two voices, one being Henry Lawson and the other Banjo Paterson. These voices evoke two very different opinions on lifestyle and reveal significant class differences in Australia at the time. Henry Lawson’s own writings on the bush were severely criticised by Paterson in this poem, as he responds to his criticisms. Paterson depicts Lawson as out of place in the bush and was too picky for country hospitality. Paterson writes: ‘Well, we grieve to disappoint you, and it makes us sad to hear / That it wasn’t cool and shady.” Paterson is highly sarcastic in this line, making fun of

Lawson’s criticism that the country was not comfortable. By apologising for the bush not being ‘cool and shady’, it shows that Paterson thinks Lawson is weak and not suited to the bush life, but instead, is suited to a more comfortable and wealthier lifestyle. Lawson is even called a ‘swell’ by Paterson, meaning that he is too classy for the bush. This is

juxtaposed and contrasted with how Paterson speaks of himself. He includes himself with the people of the bush, using the first person plural ‘we’. This affects readers to think that unlike Lawson, Paterson is suited to the bush. Therefore, Paterson contrasts his opinion with Lawson’s opinion and conveys to the audience, through his

sarcastic tone and juxtaposition, that ‘the bush will never suit’ Lawson, and Lawson ‘will never suit the bush.’

In Anthony Browne’s ‘Voices in the Park’, juxtaposition of voices also reveals class differences. The picture book is about four people who recount their experiences going to the same park.

[Matching game]
Mother: I ordered it to go away, but it took no notice of me whatsoever. “Sit”, I said to Charles. “Here.” Dad: I needed to get out of the house, so me and Smudge took the dog to the park. Charles: Then Mummy caught us talking together and I had to go home. Smudge: He went straight up to this lovely dog and sniffed its bum (he always does that).

Browne illustrates four very diverse voices the first being the mother, second the father, third the mother’s son Charles and fourth the dad’s daughter Smudge. These voices also create differing views on lifestyle. Like Paterson, Browne through his picture book provokes to the reader through the four voices, a

response, being the image to portray different perspectives on lifestyle conveying class difference. This is depicted through the use of the language style used. The language style depicted through the mother and dad illustrates the difference in class difference as the mother states “I ordered it to go away, but

it took no notice of me whatsoever. “Sit”, I said to Charles. “Here.” This indicates that she is very commanding because she uses many imperative verbs, but she is also quite formal as she uses correct grammatical format with a formal tone. Whereas the dad is not like the mother and takes a whole different approach on

lifestyle as he states “I needed to get out of the house, so me and Smudge...
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