Literature is used as a medium to evoke self-reflection in an individual, the responders are forced to reconsider core values in which they live by. Robert gray explores the misplaced values of Australian society, suggesting that the focus has changed to materialism, personal gratification, consumerism and technological advancement. Through his exploration of the aesthetics of myopia and decay, which occur across both his poems, “North coast town” and “ Flames and Dangling wire” Gray forces the responder to see the dire situation of the world as he does, engaging them in a process of self-reflection.
The deteariation of Australian society and its decaying cultural identity is due to the misplacement of core values.
Powerful imagery through the process of destruction is used in order to entice and persuade responders to reflect on their role and their responsibilities. By introducing the audience into a world space that is deteriorating Robert gray get them to reconsider where their core values lay. In flames and dangling wire he uses the image of a wasteland in representation (extened metaphor) of western civilisation, showing the remains of a decaying culture being picked upon by scavengers from hell.
To highlight the severities of the concerns that he has, he creates powerful images of a crumbling environment, he shows negativity to make the process of self reflection more inevitable, negative images are more powerful as a persuasive device.
The dump symbolises the future of the world after humanity has fallen, the burning flames emphasises the hell-like quality of the surroundings.
The severity of the situation is presented through the aesthetic of decay to provoke emotional responses from responders.
Gray begins the poem “ on a highway” metaphorically presenting his concern with where Australian society and its values are heading. The observational tone presents the city as “behind us,” suggesting that the damage that has been done by mankind is to an extent of which is now irreversible. Violent imagery such as “Driven like stakes into the earth” contains connotations of destruction and shows brutality of the situation; it represents the physical intrusion to the natural world through the building of man-made infrastructures.
In contrast to all the intense imagery presented in “Flames and Dangling wire”, “ North coast Town” approaches the audience in a whole different light, it suggests a more sutle way of presenting the destruction that is occurring, it still has the same effect, still utilizing a similar idea of imagery and observation. North Coast Town, presents a generalised perspective of an anonymous town, which implies that the issues can be occurring anywhere, not just specifically within Australia but globally. Instead of showing negative imagery to suggest the downfall, he presents an objective and critical analysis of the surroundings, allowing the responders to critise the observations themselves. Gray presents images of life along the main streets as his persona goes along the highway. The observations are mixtures of critical, innocent and saltitrical observations, the mercantile character of our lives is captured as “our images flaps in shop fronts’. As he drives pass in the car, he see their reflection amongst the merchandise, “our image” representing their essential being, the superficial and materialistic entity of human life. Parenthesis used to represent separation, “the pink ‘topicana’ motel ( stucco, with sea shells ) recalling the “shell station’, in the first stanza, indicating once again the separation from nature, disrespect and destruction of the environment. The RSL described as “fancy-dress Inca” The Incas an ancient civilisation once important in history, juxtaposed with fancy dress to show the lack of respect we have for ancient civilisations. we as responders are being chalellege through the use of
observation, forcing to question...
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