What happens when a book known by heart is torn up and thrown in the air? What happened when a tribal story is lost in an alien tale? Craig Silvey and Judith Wright examine, explore and display such changes in their respective texts Jasper Jones and Bora Ring. The idea of change as a maturing yet calamitous and estranging force is conveyed onto the audience through demonstration of its dynamic effects. The skilful use of literary techniques—metaphors, similes and symbolism—allows the reader to fully comprehend the consequences of this perpetual force.
Metaphors and personification display the idea that change is cataclysmic when it is not required. Change emerges in the life of Jasper Jones’ protagonist Charlie Bucktin which results in chaos in his life. By being exposed to a horrific situation at the tender age of thirteen years old, “the world breaks and spins and shakes” for him. Charlie laments on this by saying “I can’t unfurl from my cocoon when I’m good and ready (p. 30).” These metaphors show the adverse effects that change has had on him and his lack of preparation for current circumstances. Meanwhile, in Bora Ring, the submersion of Aborigine culture is forced. On the site of a previous Bora Ring, “Only the grass stands up / to mark the dancing-ring; the apple gums / posture and mime a past corroboree (lines 5-7).” Wright uses personification to demonstrate the diminution of vitality in their culture. Wright’s use of this technique demonstrates the previous liveliness of the Bora Rings in contrast to the present state of dormancy. The metaphors in Jasper Jones assist the reader in realising the disastrous effects of the changes imposed on Charlie, since an animal cannot possibly survive without proper development inside its cocoon. Bora Ring likewise uses personification to portray the submission of an entire culture which was flourishing but changed from verve into inertia. The use of such techniques explores the idea of change being cataclysmic,...
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