Bruce Dawe's Poetry

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Several poems by Bruce Dawe surround the subject of loneliness and oppression, a matter that many people face in today’s society and also a matter that relates to his interests; his fascination with the ‘underdog’ character and how he provides a voice for certain individuals. ‘The Raped Girl’s Father’, ‘The Family Man’ and ‘The Sadness of Madonnas’ are three poems by Bruce Dawe that relate to the themes, portraying realism in how loneliness and oppression affect people in the world.

An example of a poem related to the subject of loneliness and oppression is ‘The Raped Girl’s Father’. The poem is about a girl who had been raped and, as a consequence, is constantly abused by her father. From the title, the poem is centred on the father, who has lost his dignity caused by his daughter’s rape, and observes how his merciless rage shatters his daughter’s will to live. He has been characterised as the dominant figure of the house and a raging, heartless man, which emphasises the powerlessness of the girl and her emotions of fear, shock and shame caused by the incident. Her rape and the lack of support from her family connects to the subject of loneliness, as she has no one to confide in, and the abusive behaviour from her father relates to how she is being oppressed.

Another example of a poem related to the subject of loneliness and oppression is ‘The Sadness of Madonnas’, based on a famous news-photo of an Ethiopian mother and child. The poem powerfully describes the hunger of the mother and child, emphasising their struggle to survive in poverty and famine, and the unequal balance of prosperity and resources in the world. The idea of how the people have been neglected by their own country to suffer in famine, even in today’s society, emphasises the poem’s connection to loneliness and oppression.

‘The Family Man’ is an elegy related to the themes of loneliness and oppression. The poem is about a man who committed suicide and his death comes as a surprise to...
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