Bruce Dawe Essay

April 16, 2017 General Studies

Bruce Dawe idea of belonging is shown through two of his poems, ???Up the wall??™ and ???Drifters??™. Dawe has used a number of techniques to capture the audience??™s attention and help draw the reader into the poem, including imagery, symbolism and personification. Dawe appeals to the reader??™s sense of belonging to help the reader relate to the poem.
The poem ???Drifters??™ is about a nomadic family who struggle to find a place where they can live and feel as if they belong. The author has used lots of imagery throughout the poem to show the reader that the family doesn??™t stay in one place very long. This is conveyed in the poem through a number of quotes; ???pick all the green tomatoes from the vines??? shows that the family can never stay is one place long enough to make good friendships and establish roots into the community. The family is always moving from place to place never staying long enough to feel as if the belong. Dawe shows his sympathy for the family by implying that life for their family isn??™t very easy. Here Dawe uses the phrase, ???loaded ute bumps down the drive??? and compares it to the up and downs of the family??™s life.
Dawe also uses third person narration instead of bring across his opinion. The use of phrases such as ???she??™ll go out??? is a simple statement of fact, with no revelation of the narrator??™s personal view of their situation. Instead Dawe removes himself from the poem to resist making judgement. There are mixed feelings in the family about moving, ???the kids will yell ???Truly??™ and get wildly excited??? while ???the oldest girl is close to tears because she was happy here???. The younger kids seem to like moving from place to place where as the older girl is dejected because she was making friends and starting to feel as if she belonged in the place where they were staying. It seems belonging in the family requires movement.
Symbolism in the poem is used to represent a new beginning or a fresh start. ???When they came here she held or her bright with berries,??? where as when they leave ???blackberry canes with their last shrivelled fruit???. This shows how the fresh start has been squandered and the family are once again moving. Another use of symbolism in the poem is ???bottling set she never unpacked??? shows that the family has no permanency in the house or community where they were staying. This shows that they never had time to unpack or settle in before they moved on.
The poem ???up the wall??™ is a sonnet which functions as a plea from a distraught mother who has lost her sense of self-worth amidst the drudgery and mindlessness of domestic isolation. The author employs imagery throughout the poem to engage the audience and convey what the mother feels. Dawe has used personification to demonstrate to the audience the stresses the mother goes through each day, an example is ???the kettles plainsong rises to a shriek???, the use of imagery here helps to emphasize the noise and stress she faces looking after the kids each day. Also Dawe has used simile??™s to help convey the mother??™s feelings, ???like the horizon??? gives the effect that the everyday hassle help to define her world.
Dawe also uses alliteration to help draw the reader into the poem and the world of poetry. This is shown ???children carve???, this challenges the readers perceptions and is discordant with the stereotypical view of children being little angels. Instead it implies that the children are making life difficult for the mother by carving in furniture and making noise. The author has used a juxtaposition is the poem to show the changes in the state of the mother??™s home life. ???Their din??? compared to what her husband says at the end, ???it??™s a quiet neighbourhood,??? the contrast between the noise of the children during the day to the quite when her husband observes when he is home, stresses how isolated she feels with little or no adult interaction.
Dawe presents to the reader negative view through the poetry with a nameless mother who is stuck in ???hell??™ with no interaction outside her husband who doesn??™t seem to understand her. This is shown when the mother says, ???there??™s no-one round her I can call if something goes wrong. I??™m so alone!??? This manipulates the reader to think that none else in the world can understand what she is going through and the boring monotony of her workload.
Both poems have the same theme of belonging running through them. In the poem ???Drifters??™ the family could not stay in one place long enough to feel as if they belonged. Yet each family member felt they belonged together. In the poem up the wall the mother feels as if she doesn??™t belong with the children because they are driving her crazy.


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