Bruce Dawe - Enter Without so Much as Knocking + Lifecycle

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Poems: Lifecycle – Enter Without So Much As Knocking
The poet’s role is to challenge the world the see around them.’ How far is this true for the poetry of Bruce Dawe? How (ie through what techniques) Does Dawe achieve this? Discuss a maximum of 2 poems. Bruce Dawe is one of the most inspirational and truthful poets of our time. Born in 1930, in Geelong, most of Dawe’s poetry concerns the common person – his poems are a recollection on the world and issues around him. The statement ‘The poet’s role is to challenge the world they see around them.’ Is very true for Bruce Dawe, as his main purpose in his poetry was to depict the unspoken social issues concerning the common Australian suburban resident. His genuine concern for these issues is evident through his mocking approach to the issues he presents in two of his longer poems, ‘Enter without so much as Knocking’ and ‘Life-cycle’. Both poems have a similar theme - the cycle of life, the mass-production and lack of uniqueness. ‘Enter without so much as Knocking’ shows how consumerism has a negative impact on society. The poem depicts the life of a typical man, living in the suburbs. It starts off with the birth of a child. The sentences are intentionally made short and clear. As the baby begins to conceive the world he has been brought into, he sees signs, commands and expectations. Dawe stresses the point that the first thing that the baby heard was a voice of consumerism on television, as opposed to the voices of his family. The baby has been brought into a materialistic world – a world where such an important event has just occurred, a new member of the family has been born, and yet the television is on and Bobby Dazzler is preaching his false cliches to the household. “Hello, hello, hello all you lucky people”

Followed by a comment highlighting the innocence of the child – Bobby Dazzler’s false heartiness and slogans do not influence the child. ‘and he really was lucky because it didn't mean a thing to him then’ Dawe believes that the child is lucky because he knows nothing of this repetitive deceit of civilisation. The theme really starts to come through here – these people are brainwashed by television so much so that consumerism is a religion for them. He is ferociously denouncing suburban life and the fact that people worship the television set. In the next stanza his family is described. The household is described with terms that we see as marketing slogans – “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. “one economy - sized Mum, one Anthony Squires- Coolstream – Summerweight Dad, along with two other kids, Straight off the Junior Department rack.” Every aspect of this family is described in a sexist, impersonal, monotonous manner. His siblings aren’t described by their sex or age – they are just summarised as children who wear the same clothes as everyone else. and regulations imposed upon him everywhere he goes. “WALK. DON’T WALK.TURN LEFT. NO PARKING. WAIT HERE. NO SMOKING. KEEP CLEAR/OUT/OFF THE GRASS” These are all instructions that he must abide. Bruce Dawe then satirically mocks these signs by implying that everything about a person is controlled in this world, even their breathing. “NO BREATHING EXCEPT BY ORDER.”

The purpose of this stanza was to show that the car journey described in it is a fairly accurate representation of this boy’s life. The first sign of any emotion in the poem is “He enjoyed”, the child’s opinion, in the fourth stanza. He is challenging this world of people with iced-over emotions. The child is still innocent in this stage of his life – he is enthralled by nature, uninfluenced by material things,...
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