Australian Cultural Identity
The Australian poet Bruce Dawe was one of the first Australian poets to recognise the average Australian as one who neither lives in the country or in the centre of a metropolis but in the middle class suburbs that expand outward from the cities. He writes for the great middle mass of Australian population about matters of social, political and cultural interests. Though Dawe is well aware of the sense of the ironic in city and suburban life in Australia that not all is well in the average Australian’s life in suburbia. Bruce Dawe poems often concern’s the average Australian people in the suburbs confronting their everyday problems, he observes and records the sorrow and hardships of average people struggling to survive. Our cultural identity even a stereotypical view of Australian’s is that we’re laconic, anti authority and we live in egalitarian society. Bruce Dawe’s views on Australian cultural identity are represented in ‘Life Cycle’ ‘Up The Wall’ and ‘Homo Suburbiensis’.
‘Life Cycle’ represents the proud and passionate nature of Australian people especially at sporting events. Life Cycle is obviously about Australian Rules Football and football team’s supporters from when they are young to when they are old. Their feeble passion for their club when they are young “Carn, Carn they Cry …feebly at first’ to when they are old and proud and passionate supporters. They are brought up from the beginning with football in their blood, when they play football and win they are praised and showered with glory but when they lose they are shunned by proud parents. Dawe is well aware of the excesses, the lunacies of the Australian Rules supporter but the poem is not attacking what might appear to be an Australian social evil. Dawe borrows many liturgical statements to emphasise the passion of Australian Rules followers. “They will not grow old as those from more Northern States grow old’ borrowed from Binyon’s “To the Fallen” links in with the patriotic Anzacs who fought against the odds with pride and dignity. The football followers are patriotic about their team and the true followers support their team through thick and thin. On the football field race and ethnicity mean nothing it is forgotten, physical prowess and class of the player dictate people’s views on the player. You would love him or hate him depending on which team you followed. A strong image of an Australian society that is proud and passionate is represented in ‘Life Cycle’ but sometimes this pride and passion is taken to seriously and it can ruin the sport and turn it into something of a social evil.
Bruce Dawe in ‘Life Cycle’ represents the football as a culture, a religion, away of life for many Australian people. Sport in Australia is significantly more popular then in most places in the world as Bruce Dawe said when he commented on ‘Life Cycle’ “I think all Australians have something of a predisposition to treat sport as being just a bit more religious than in other places’. Just looking at the newspapers and it’s obvious that football dominates the sport section it is Australia’s national game an icon that only Australian’s know. Bruce Dawe recognises how significant sport in particular Australian Rules is to the average Australian it is away of life a culture. Chicken Smallhorn a former Fitzroy wingman that gained god like status among the Fitzroy followers for his exploits on the football field,
“Chicken Smallhorn return like maize-god in a thousand shapes, the dancers changing” Like race and ethnicity religion is forgotten on the football field, all players and supporters have one religion or aim rather to win the Grand Final and place their hands on the premiership trophy, the holy grail of football. Like a religion the supporters hope for salvation, whenever their team is losing and having a terrible season they hope their clubs season will change they remain optimistic. “Having seen the six-foot recruit...
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