Bruce Dawe Essay

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Bruce Dawe, an Australian known poet, born 1930 is still one of the biggest selling and most highly regarded poets of Australia. His ability to write such influential poems has made an impact on a number of people, as each poem can be related to the ordinary living lives of Australians throughout the years. Bruce Dawe's poems are interesting because they comment on the lives of ordinary people. This statement is agreed on. In relation to the statement, three key poems can be linked being Enter Without So Much as Knocking (1959), Homo Suburbiensis (1964) and Drifters (1968).  

In the first poem mentioned: Enter Without So Much as Knocking, Dawe shows the living of a child in the Baby Boomers period, and the era after World War 2 (1950's to early 60's). The government had just released an election promise for any mother who beared a child to receive a 'money' bonus in return for adding to Australia's population. With around 3 babies per family on average during this time period, Dawe represents children born in that time period as if being born manufacturing, hence Bruce Dawe's poems are interesting because they comment on the lives of ordinary people.  

The Poem Enter Without So Much as Knocking uses many poetic and literary techniques. These include imagery, similes, themes of sexism and stereotypes and rhetorical question. Dawe utilises the whole poem as imagery for the boy’s life. Dawe's creative sense made it so the audience who would read this poem would see that his life was a game show even in death. This example can be found when Dawe explores death in his sixth stanza. ''… gave him back for keeps/ the old automatic smile with nothing behind it, winding the whole show up with a/ nice ride out to the underground metropolis:/ permanent residentials, no parking tickets, no taximeters/ ticking, no Bobby Dazzlers here, no down payments,/ nobody grieving over halitosis/ flat feet shrinking gums falling hair.'' In this example, Dawe’s use of imagery immediately conveys to his audience the type of life this man led. He also used black humour, using death as an escape from the life he led and still gaining ‘’prizes’’.

The next technique used is Simile. Throughout the poem, Dawe represents the child as nothing more than just another person. No significance. No crucial part to his existence. Yet, in the fourth stanza, Dawe finally shows some notion of a positive emotion. The first ever look at happiness and only view throughout the poem. In the stanza, the boy describes his liking for watching movies under a star lit sky, stating: ‘’… a pure unadulterated fringe of sky, littered with stars/ no one had got around to fixing up yet; he’d watch them/ circling about in luminous groups like kids at the circus…’’ The effect of using this technique emphasises the fact of something so pure, an actual happy emotion existing in this world, that seems to be so practical and sought out. To the audience it would show that Dawe is trying to create a hope that just maybe the boy will escape this game show fate and live to have the freedom he wishes. The comment of his life also illustrates Dawe’s interesting view on life and ordinary people, as he represents the feeling of being barred from freedom. It also shows how society cannot corrupt the stars as they are too far away.

Themes are also used throughout the poem. In the 1950’s to early 60’s women were still trying to attain for themselves. After the Second World War and during the baby boomers period, in stanza two of the poem Dawe comments on this type of living stating: ‘’… his included/ one economy-sized Mum, one Anthony Squires Dad, along with two other kids straight off the Junior Department rack.’’ This technique clearly represents the stereotypical, sexist views of the time period. Women were still seen as just ‘’house-wife’’ material, men were expected to make a living for their family and the average for the number of children per household was three. Anthony Squires...
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