Bruce Dawe

April 16, 2017 Media

Texts entail that individuals belong to a society that shapes their beliefs, but it is the ability to move beyond social expectations that enable more intimate connections. Connections refer to the relationship or association between people or objects, allowing entities to be linked – and these bonds shape identity. Bruce Dawe??™s ???Enter Without So Much as Knocking???, Juan Solanas ???L??™Homme Sans Tete??? and Vernon Ah Kee??™s ???Cant Chant??? explore connections in relations to the context, beliefs, values and concerns of society in the time of the texts.
Texts show that individuals who are isolated or marginalized often wish to seek companionship and leave locations where they are secure to achieve bonds with others. This desire is represented in Enter Without So Much as Knocking, where what the protagonist ???enjoyed most of all was when they went to the late show, on a clear naight and he could see (beyonf the fify-foot screen).??? The protagonist longs for intimacy, where he leaves his mundane, corrupt psyche to depict a longing of intimacy rather than connotations of advertising, suggesting commercialism is an obstacle of connections. This is contrasted in the recurring motif of the number two in L??™Homme Sans Tete, with the two tickets to the ball and the two ???cookoos??? of the clock, symbolizing the desire of companionship. The protagonist leaves his comfort zone to experience intimate relations, personified by the red handkerchief thrown out the window -which indicates disconnections- symbolising his decision to explore the outside world in order to experience intimate relations.
Texts utilize modern icons to verify that, in a context of commercialism, relationships are shaped by the media. This is evident in the representation of family life in Enter Without So Much as Knocking, where the persona is brought into a world of commodities seen in the accumulation of ???one economy-size Mum, one Anthony Squires-Coolstream-Summerweight Dad, along with two other kids straight off the Junior Department rack??? indicating homogeneity. Conversely, intimate relations are actually present when he is ???carried through the door in his mother??™s arms??? but are subsequently juxtaposed and tainted by the conformity encouraged by advertising. In ways like this, Dawe criticizes the negative aspects of Australia??™s society, highlighting social flaws. Mirroring this, the protagonists in Ah Kee??™s artwork, in their quest to find connections, fail to value the unique nature of themselves??™ and instead try to conform to Australia??™s materialistic society. This is exhibited through the Hang Ten surf boards, shirts and sunglasses worn by all three men, symbolizing uniformity and the lack of identity ??“ one of the artists??™ main concerns. These influences force individuals to develop connections based on social expectations and consumerism.
Texts suggest that such connections have a negative impact on an individual??™s psyche and that they must experience the natural world to reunite with their own spirituality, enabling more intimate relations. The protagonist in L??™Homme Sans Tete purchases a head in a world where even faces, people??™s identities, have become commercial products. Hysterically expressing joy after fitting on his head before the date, examining his newly born identity that adheres to social expectations, the situation is contrastingly abstracted with shame and grief when he realizes his face and hands are mismatched colours. This causes the protagonist to re-evaluate his values, placing personal integrity above social values. However, this is juxtaposed in Enter without So Much as Knocking, where the brief refrain from the media and frustrations of temporary living are not enough to stop individuals from embracing negative consumerist values. He witnesses and ???unadaltered sky, littered with stars no one had got around to fixing yet,??™ suggesting rejuvenation, where the symbolism of the sky reveals the innocence of an entity unaltered by the commercial world, allowing it to possess personal integrity and furthermore intimate connections, contrasted with his becoming like ???every other money-hungry black stabbing miserable so-and-so,??? suggesting that this protagonist cannot achieve intimate relations.
Subsequently, transformation is not always seen as ideal and is now rejected, with texts enlightening responders of the importance of relationships based on the distinctiveness of each individual. The repetition of the mirror in L??™Homme Sans Tete symbolizes self-reflection, where the protagonist re-evaluates his identity, accepting his eccentricity in society. Ironically, his date accepts him for his true self. Once again, this is juxtaposed by Dawe??™s poem, where though transformation is shown as bad, the protagonist still adheres to socially accepted codes.


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