Australian Poet Judith Wright and How Her Poems Portray Australias Cultural Identity

Topics: Indigenous Australians, Australia, World War II Pages: 6 (1978 words) Published: September 19, 2005
It is stated that ‘We maintain and reproduce our cultural identity through what we read and write'. Many great Australian poets show the culture that Australia has through the strong imagery and emotive language portrayed in their poetry. Judith write is a famous Australian poet who wrote many poems that portrayed Australia's Cultural Identity. Her poems ‘The Wonga Vine", "Jet Flight Over Derby", "A Country Town" and "Two Dreamtimes" strongly reflect the landscape, environment, history, beliefs and social issues that Australia, had during the times that Judith Wright lived through. Her poetry also reflects the modern cultural identity that Australia has now.

Judith Wright was born in 1915 into a pioneering bush family. She grew up in New South Wales near Armadale. Judith Wright's family was an old wealthy pastoral family. She was educated at home by her grandmother and at the age of 14 she was sent to New England Girls' School. Here is where Wright decided to become a poet. In 1934 Wright went to the Sydney University and studied Philosophy, History, Psychology and English. Judith Wright mainly wrote her poetry about the environment. When World War 2 started Wright's father asked her to come back home to help. This was a turning point in her writing career. She had listened to many of the stories that the old workers on her father's farm told. Wright learned of how the Aboriginal people were treated and how their land was stolen and traditions destroyed. She was able to sympathise with the Aboriginal people because of the fear that she felt with the onset of World War Two. Judith kept on writing and produced many works that portrayed the Australian landscape, culture and history. Thus providing a representation of the Australian Identity.

‘The Wonga Vine' is a poem, which has a central focus on the landscape and conversation of the environment. The persona captures the more rural landscapes of Australia, such as that desert, hot dry weather and creeks. This is evident by the colours in the poem ‘red', ‘yellow' and ‘white'. The desert had a huge influence on Judith Wright's poetry from her upbringing so close to it. The persona also describes the hot dry weather usually experienced. ‘the sunburst day's on fire' In ‘The Wonga Vine' the sun is also personified. For example "I gather you/ out of his withering light" "The sun has eyes of fire". This personification of the sun harming the Wonga Vine is a metaphor for the destruction of the environment and the Wonga Vine represents the environment that the persona is trying to protect. "I gather you

Out of his withering light
Sleep there, red;
Sleep there yellow and white"
This reflects the feelings that Wright had about the environment and how she wanted to save it. This is also shown in the poem ‘Jet Flight Over Derby'. The persona describes the Wonga Vine with bright vibrant colours and also describers the Australian terrain such as the desert, creeks and ponds. This poem reflects the natural aspect of Australia's cultural identity.

The poem ‘Jet Flight Over Derby' depicts the perspective of the Australian landscape through the eyes of a bird. The statement that is being made in this poem is to save the environment that is being destroyed. The persona also tries to make the reader understand that Australia's identity is not only in our history or people but also in the landscape itself. The landscape portrayed in the poem is very realistic to the features that Australia has. The poem uses phrases to describe the land such as the shoreline and oceans that surround Australia "Crossing this ravelled shore/ fern patterns of tides" "I meet the blues of sea". The persona describes the sand dunes and how she is one with the land "Curved symmetry of dunes/ echo my ribs and hands", "I am what land has made/ and lands myself I said". The image of the desert is also present in the poem with the reference to the deep colour of a red rose and uses this metaphor...
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