Some say that every text has a use by date and whereas some believe that every text is dateless. The idea that every text has its use by date is incorrect, and in this essay, we will argue against this idea. If a text is written from a long period of time ago it does not mean that it still won’t be interesting today, as the events and themes used in the text can still be relevant to today’s time. And these texts are what we can call universal. A universal text allows us to compare, contrast and also reflect on the themes and context of the past to the current time. Hence, these texts provide us an understanding about a particular time by the themes, context or events mentioned in the text and we can therefore use these concepts as a reflection to the current time. Les Murray’s “An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow” and “The Mitchells” are examples of texts that do not need a use by date. These two poems highlight major themes and are considered to be of relevance to today’s time.
Les Murray himself has embraced Catholicism and his religious perceptions have had a deep influence on much of his poetry. In his poem “An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow”, it is evident that Les Murray’s religious insights have been mentioned significantly throughout the poem itself. The theme of religious awareness in the poem shows a division between the city and the rural people. In the first stanza of the poem in the lines of “... at Tattersalls, men look up from sheets of numbers, the Stock Exchange scribblers forget the chalk in their hands. And men with bread in their pockets leave the Greek Club...” describe the city people to be consumed with money. The setting of the poem is set in the city and this allows the reader to create some sort of city image in their mind. Through Murray’s use of descriptive words of the city people, furthermore creates the images of the busy day-to-day lives of urban society. If we were to use this insight and compare it to today’s time, we will see a similar representation between Murray’s time and the current time. In today’s society, there is still the same existence that had existed in Murray’s time, where the city is a place of busy working people and that everyone is self absorbed in their own worlds. The city is still considered to be a busy place where each individual have their own business to mind and their separate lives to live. One of the highlights of this poem, in reference to the argument that every text does not have a use by date, is that the poem has the relevant concept that society today still have, having said this, the way Murray describes the city people is true and we can relate his insight to our time.
The poem trails a clear division between the urban and rural life, Murray condemns the ways of the city life and through contrast with the country; he highlights the corruption of the city by being part of the contemporary lifestyle, advancements of technologies and their lack of spirituality. Hence, his insight of the city life is still evident in today’s time. The city people are still consumed with consumerism, modernisation and the introductions to new technology. Similarly to Murray’s insight of the rural life, the country people today are still living in simplicity and they are not much involved with the modernisation that city people have.
The major theme in the poem is religion and Murray explores the numinous. This poem is an example that shows a demonstration of Murray’s access to explore the supernatural within the ordinary through the weeping man. The tone in the first stanza is humorous though as further in the poem, the tone is shifted to create awareness about how the city people lack emotion and spirituality. As the crowds begin to increase, the event becomes a crisis of freedom as the weeping man has stepped outside the bounds of the city people’s normality. In his ‘pentagram of sorrow’ it suggests that his weeping is not understood, as the society lacks emotion and...
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