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Bruce Dawe

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  • August 18, 2005
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The Second World War changed many things: the face of Europe, the balance of world power, and, perhaps less notably, the perception of the common Australian. From Federation day to the 1940s, most poets wrote about the ideal 'aussie'; the strong, silent outback-dweller; the Man from Snowy River or the Man who went to Ironbark. The 1950s were a time of change, and Australian Literature changed too, from aggrandizing the increasingly rare 'Dundee's, to noting the average Australian living in suburbia with the other four-fifths of the population. This essay will cite specific examples of poems of a man commonly regarded as Australia's greatest living poet from 1950 to 1990. Through Bruce Dawe's poetry the true Australian persona has arisen to global knowledge.

One of Bruce Dawes most famous poems, written in the 1950s, is Enter Without So Much As Knocking. In this poem he highlights the plight of a 'modern' man who slowly comes to realize and embrace the façade surrounding suburban life and its incessant consumerism. "Well-equipped, smoothly-run, economy-size"

These terms give the feeling of mass production - just as well-equipped, smoothly-run, economy-size cars; these sorts of households must have been very common. Again the fact that these people lack individuality is being focused on and it is disputed whether this is correct. The rest of the family are presented as stereotypes. Whereas in the days of The Man From Snowy River, where individuality, rebelliousness and going against the grain are commonplace and celebrated as courageous, in this world, it would seem 'inefficient'. The poem itself is discussing a man's journey from birth to death and how all around him life is interpreted by material possessions. A famous quote from this poem shows the change that mechanized and money hungry living brings to man. "Anyway, pretty soon he was old enough to be realistic like every other godless money-hungry back-stabbing miserable so-and-so". This is a dramatic...