Sometimes Gladness - Bruce Dawe

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Life as a whole has both negative and positives however it is ultimately the positives that triumphs. Both Bruce Dawe's poems 'Husband and Wife' and 'Drifters' and Hannie Rayson's Australian play Life After George explore and confirm this notion. Although Dawe's poems were written in the context of the 50's and 60's and Rayson's play was written in 2000, both works share similarities in their positive outlook on life but however have differences in their values of society.

Bruce Dawe's poem 'Drifters' provides a positive outlook on life despite hardships that occur in the common Australian family. The poem provides a window into the life of a common working class Australian family that is forced to move time and time again in order to try and find some sort of stability in their income and home. With each move comes sadness in the experienced of the family; the mother and oldest daughter. The oldest daughter is "close to tears" and Dawe uses symbolism in the family's "last shrivelled fruit" on the blackberry canes, symbolising depression and the state of society during the Great Depression. Also the poem's lack of structure represents the lack of stability in their home or any set foundation. This is indicative of Dawe's context, as a child Dawe was used to moving a lot and he also moved a lot as an adult along Australia's east coast. Dawe was also born during Australia's Great Depression and the mother in the poem who is the focus of the poem in "she" being repeated multiple times, represents Dawe's mother who yearned for stability. Despite the hardships that ravaged the family, the mother reflects on the first time they arrived at their home with hands "bright with berries", being juxtaposed with the "last shrivelled fruit", the berries symbolising the hope in finding stability in their home. The last line of the poem repeats "make a wish", ending the poem with a strong sense of hope and in doing so provides a final positive outlook on life.

Rayson's Life...
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