Australian voices: I am, you are, hold on! What is an Australian? An Australian voice? What can an Australian voice be? To many the definition of an Australian voice will vary from opinion to opinion. One can describe an Australian voice as being a perspective of the Australian culture in relations to Australian values ideas, attitudes and actions. To many it may be how a typical Australian is perceived by the rest of the world, and the differences between their own culture and that of Australia’s.
Today’s typical Australian is in many ways different to the typical Australian 50 years back. It is extremely hard to define an Australian in this day and age as Australia is such a diverse multicultural society when compared with that of the Australia 50 years ago. My article will identify how different composers promote Australian ideas and values. The Australian play titled Away by Michael Gow is set during the time of the Vietnam War (1960.
Gow uses the technique of setting to show how the effect of the Vietnam War impacted many Australian families.
This is shown when Roy tells Coral “We are not the first people in history to lose a son in a war, in the last war practically every family lost someone”. This extract depicts how many Australian families were devastated like Coral and Roy to the point where it caused the collapse of countless family. This line also portrays a new perspective of war by Australians as that of being terrible. Gow emphasises the strong influence that the setting can have by placing the characters in a number of typical Australian holiday places, and having the play set during the holiday season.
The beach, Caravan Park and the luxury hotel on the gold coast depict the importance of the Australian values and idea of spending time with family during the hot Christmas season at popular Australian destinations. As a result of the play being set in the 1960s Gow uses comments and jokes of that time. For example, there is constant referral to Coral looking like Kim Novak, as well as Meg parents reminding Meg about how hard life was in the great depression. Characterisation is used by Gow to promote ideas and values in the play.
Gow purposely moves the closed, indoor scenes (backstage, hotel room) to the open outdoor scenes (beach, caravan park) this corresponds with the emotional and mental development of his characters. Gwen when backstage wishes everyone a happy holiday, but later shows she’s lying by criticizing Meg for hanging around such “low class” people. “They shouldn’t be going on a holiday if they can’t afford it”. Later on she’s says ‘What do you think of me? You must hate me? ” We all of a sudden see how open minded Gwen has become not only towards herself but to other people.
The Australian value of mateship is show by Vic when the 2 go for a walk. Even though Gwen and vice aren’t close, Vic shows mateship when taking Gwen for a walk and telling her from a friends point of view how she acts. Symbolism is a key way that Gow portrays the image of Australian voices. The beach is symbol of cleansing and harmony, and where lessons are learned. The storm in Away is an icon representing change as well as symbolising the power of nature and how sometimes we really have no control over many aspects of our life.
The representation of many Australian voices through the song “I am you are, we are Australian” jumps out at you the moment you start reading the first few lines. You notice how the chorus speaks of a multiculturalist sense of unity. The lines “from all the lands we come and sing with one voice, I am, you are, we are Australian” is a prime example of how diverse Australian society has become. The song writer Bruce Woodley has achieved this by structuring the chorus with very short sentences (syntax) with most of them only being 2 words.
This is to highlight the importance of those key words and convey the true meaning of diversity into the audiences mind. Woodley uses setting, tone/mood, and different perspective to promote the Australian voice in his text. One example lies in the line” I stood upon the rocky shores, and watched the tall ships come”, illustrates the time when the aboriginals watched the first fleet sail into Botany Bay. The setting differs from that of Away as Away is based more on a specific time frame were as Woodley’s song is set over many different time periods (arrival of the first fleet, time of the gold rush, and time of Ned Kelly).
The tone/mood in which Gow uses in his play is one of seriousness with flashes of humour and joyfulness, this is however different and similar to that of Woodley’s song as it is serious but has a unifying, soothing proud sense feel to it. Woodley purposely uses many different viewpoints in her song. This idea contemplates with his central value of how Australia has transformed from being a predominately “white European society” to a multiculturalistic society. The structure of his song which goes in chronological order from arrival of the first fleet to the Australian gold rush represents the different backgrounds Australians have.
This is however different to Gows characterisation and perspectives as Away is basically about 3 families that go on a holiday and become entangled into one another lives and all find some form of self discovery. With abit of luck I have shown what some typical Aussie values and how various composers have imbedded their meanings and feelings into the texts to present different forms of media that subconsciously have us wondering what it means to be Australian. Both Gow and Woodley have achieved their mission of representing what they feel are distinct Australian values through various techniques.
Both composers text, though different in almost all ways are similar in one thing unique thing. They both represent Australian culture in a positive and cheerful way. From our diverse and multiculturalistic society to the value of mateship between one another. No matter what time period whether it be future or past, one thing is certain, Australian culture is continuously changing and will be different in over 50 years time. Can you thing now of what it will be like? Who knows anything is possible.
Cite this Away and Other Related Text . (Yr 11 Standard)
Away and Other Related Text . (Yr 11 Standard). (2018, Jul 26). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/away-and-other-related-text-essay-yr-11-standard/