Bruce Dawe is an Australian poet who uses the voice of ordinary Australians in his poetry. He uses universal concepts to create challenging themes and highlight the concerns of life and society. Distinctive ideas and techniques are presented in Dawe’s poetry and this is evident in the poems “Enter without so much as knocking” and “Weapons Training”.
Theme: Life Cycle
In ‘Enter Without So Much As Knocking’ Dawe especially develops the central theme of life as a cycle. He conveys the cycle of life as being born into this world pure-minded only to become tainted and die tainted. The epigraph begins the cycle by expressing the notion of death. The poem then begins with “Blink, blink, hospital, silence.” and ends with “Blink, blink, cemetery, silence.” By bordering the poem with two similar processes, it gives the impression of a cycle and the possibility of reoccurrence. The voice of the baby changes and becomes aggressive and sadistic implied by “hit wherever you see a head and kick whoever’s down.” This indicates that he has grown up and inherited his moms’ habits, suggesting the once pure child becoming tainted by his mom.
The concept of conformity is portrayed as the tool for initiating the cycle. Dawe uses the act of conforming, as the baby’s change. “Anyway, pretty soon he was old enough to be like every other godless, money-hungry, back-stabbing, miserable so-and-so.” is the stage where he was overcome by the materialistic influence and conformed to society. “I’m telling you straight, Jim, it’s number one every time for this chicken”, “I’ve had enough for one night” portrays the new attitude he has conformed to. This conformity starts his life cycle on the side of materialism.
The theme of materialism is presented through various ideas and techniques. The materialistic society acts as the main influence for the cycle. Throughout the poem, the baby is surrounded by materialistic influences. This shows...
References: to racism create the notion of a war-like atmosphere. Incorporating racism achieves many effects but one in particular is the presence of anger and hatred. Creating the stereotypical insults highlight the hatred for the Asians and serve to dehumanise them. “Rotten fish-sauce breath” and “little yellows” are examples. Therefore presenting racism in these insults assists creating the war-like environment.
Unity is developed through various ideas and techniques. Throughout the poem, the various techniques and themes that are included help to achieve the overall effect of unity. At the start, the sergeant directs anger towards him, but then redirects it to the Asians. This creates a common enemy amongst the recruits, which is a form of uniting them. Sexual references achieve a few results. It crafts the hints of humour in the sergeants’ words and creates that little essence of comfort with each other and also serves to create that longing for home. This way, they are comfortable with each other and are united by their desire to win the war and return home. Through these various techniques the sergeant achieves unity amongst the recruits.
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