Development of a New Zealand Identity

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My report's focus is to see how the New Zealand identity is portrayed in New Zealand art and literature. The texts I chose come from the early nineteenth century - The Piano - to the 1940s in Frank Sargeson's short stories. Even though these texts may not be very modern, you can still see that there are a number of different factors that are in them which link to my theme.

New Zealand Society
In the short story ‘The Hole that Jack Dug’ and in the song ‘Whaling’, the male belongs to the working class. In "The Hole that Jack Dug", Jack is a married man who a worker at a quarry. His wife doesn’t like that he does not get a better job, such as one in an office. Even though Jack has the ability to get a better job, he prefers labouring than anything else. In ‘Whaling’ this man is stuck as a whaler for a job, possibly because he lacks proper education. "But I'm whaling... Not where I want to be." This lack of education forced him into a job he didn't want, which might have been what men had to do at the time.

This brings up another issue of women being better educated than men. This can be seen in ‘The Hole that Jack Dug’ where Jack's wife is educated in England. "... she'd been a governess ... read more than ten books by an author called Hugh Walpole." Because she is interested in literature and Jack isn't, their marriage isn’t a very good one. Jack shows rebellion against her and her interests, because of her resentment towards him. This can be seen as New Zealand not valuing education during the time which led to people like Jack having working class jobs. These working class jobs can be seen as a New Zealand tradition. Jack and the Whaler were both labourers, a line of work which has continued its way into our modern times. This is evident by the fact the New Zealand has a successful farming industry which requires a large amount of labour. It can also be linked to today's New Zealand men, who are do it yourself type people who like to fix things...
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