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The poets Judith Wright, Oodgeroo of the Noonuccal tribe and Bruce Dawe

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The poets Judith Wright, Oodgeroo of the Noonuccal tribe and Bruce Dawe examine the strong inevitable belonging that exists in human and loss experienced by the aboriginals if they losses their sense of belonging. The poets also explore the deterioration of the environment. Oodgeroo’s and Wright’s lyrical reflections and Dawe’s bleak perception on modern day supports to uncover their central message.

Oodgeroo, Wright and Dawe explore a sense of belonging as a human need and the modern civilisation that acts as a barrier to prevent a close connection.

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This is conveyed through Wright’s “South of my Days” and “Brother and Sisters”, Oodgeroo’s “We are Going” and “Then and Now”, and Dawe’s “Life Cycle” and “Enter without So Much as Knocking”. Both poems “We are going” and “South of my days” demonstrates the need to belong to the aboriginal land and form strong connections with the landscape. Wrights uses a metaphor of “my blood’s country” to describes her strong connection with the Australian landscape.

She utilises adjectives of “delicate” “olive”, “clean” and “lean” to evoke feelings of peaceful atmosphere. The metaphysical voice of the “old Dan” echoes the voice of old settlers and hence, the reflection of an Australian landscape. She also uses the anaphora of “Seventy years of stories he clutches round his bones” and “Seventy summers are hived in him like old honey” to further emphasise her close relationship with the land with time.

Similar to Wright, Oodgeroo expresses the importance of forging connections to the Aboriginal land as otherwise they will be “ghost” without it. Oodgeroo’s sense of belonging comes from the land as she uses the inclusive Indigenous language of the “Old bora ground” and “corroboree” to symbolise the Aboriginal cultural sacred place for rituals and uses repetition of the pronoun “we” to emphasise the collective nature of the Aboriginal people. The reader comprehends the land and the Aboriginal people are synonymous for each other through the lines of “We belong here” and “We are the corroboree”. Unlike Wright and Oodgeroo, Dawe’s “Life Cycle” explores the sense of belonging of people through allegiance to their football team. In the first stanza Dawe uses images of the “children are born…wrapped in the club-colours” to demonstrate parents teaching their child to belong to the football team which is morally right. He insinuates that Australian’s sense of belonging is satisfied through Australian Rules Football.

Despite the importance of belonging, all three poets also warn about the barriers of modern civilisation that prevents the formation of belonging either familial or to a place. In first stanza of “Brother and Sisters”, Wright uses the metaphor of the “road…to be a cul-de-sac” which “stopped like a lost intention” and “never crossed the mountains” demonstrating people have forgotten their sense of belonging to this new country “but they stayed on” to reflect their fruitless persistence. Similarly, Oodgeroo’s poem “Then and Now” explores the loss of belonging due to colonisation and the way it diminishes traditional custom and values. She employs the metaphor of her “dreams are shattering by rushing cars” to emphasise the loss of sacred land.

In the second stanza she utilises contrast to highlight the indigenous elements being replaced with white civilisation. The rapid change has brought through “corroboree” being replaced with “a factory that belches smoke”, the “didgeridoo calling [them] to dance and play” is replaced by “offices…neon lights”. The alliteration of “teeming town” reinforces the how society has failed to provide a sense of belonging. The reader experiences strong emotions of sadness as Oodgeroo employs repetition of “No more” to reinforce the idea of white civilisation abolishing aboriginal’s custom. Conversely, “Enter without So Much As Knocking” depicts how identities of “money-hungry back stabbing” dominates the world and to belong individual must act like these identities.

The poem begins with “Blink, blink, HOSPTAL, SILENCE” and ends with “Blink, blink, CEMETERY. Silence.” to reveal how modern living has caused individuals to born into silence and blink into death without belonging to the society. The short sentences with jarring words of “WALK. DON’T WALK” demonstrate the signs a child may read on a road trip, conveying how modern society wants us to live. Furthermore, “NO BREATHING EXCEPT BY ORDER” reveals the idea of modern society metaphorically and physically suffocates the population. He uses onomatopoeia of “beep beep” to demonstrate the frenetic circumstances. Unlike Oodgeroo, Dawe contrasts the short sentences with long sentences and employs a metaphor of sky being “littered with stars” to indicate that starts have not yet been replaced by modern society. All three poets seek to raise the reader’s aware of the sense of belonging which helps to cope with painful emotions and the severe consequences of not belonging.

The power and the freedom of nature is contrasted with the destruction of nature due to white civilisation in Wright’s “The Surfer” and “The Peacock”, Oodgeroo’s “Freedom” and “Civilisation” and Dawe’s “Homo Suburbiensis” and “Search and Destroy”. Both “The Surfer” and “Freedom” explore the strength of the natural environment. The “Surfer” annotates about the relationship between the sea and the surfer. It warns the reader about how the sea can sometimes be dangerous. The poet utilises Anthropomorphism to compare the ocean to “grey-wolf” and emphasise its power and as the “sun goes down” the sea becomes violent.

Wright uses personification of sea which “lies snarling” and “crouches on sand” to represent it has features of a wolf with its own thoughts and feelings. Wright also exploits effective metaphor of “last leaf of gold vanishes” to portray the sun is going down faster and the surfer must “come to the long beach home like a gull diving” as it sea may get rougher. Similarly, Oodgeroo utilises effective imagery of “Dingo on the lone ridge…still defy them” to express the defiant nature on humanity. She uses assonance “o” sound in “dingo”, “lone” and “own” to evoke rebellious feelings. Dawe’s “Homo Suburbiensis” uses imagery of emphasise how the environment has its value and role and the wild nature of life. Dawe personifies “hoarse rasping tendrils” and contrast with the garden to illustrate the untamed wild nature is still “[flourishing]”.

Regardless of whether the nature has power, the three poets explore the ways in which it is being destroyed. Wright’s “The Peacock” reveals how the beauty of the Peacock transcends the hostile environment created by humans. Wright employs imagery of “shame on the aldermen who locked the Peacock in a dirty cage” and “blue and copper sheens are mocked” to highlight how peacock is being disrespected by humans. She utilises rhyming pattern of “repeat” “feet”, “stain” and “again” to engage the reader and creates a vivid image in the reader’s mind of the peacock and cruelty it experiences. Oodgeroo’s “Civilisation”, the ironic title, reveals to the audience the effect of white civilisation and impact it has on Aboriginal culture. She uses inclusive language of “we who came late civilisation” and “you” throughout the poem to persuade the reader into agreeing the her and convinces them the effect of civilisation. She employs antithesis “we had so little but we had happiness” to stark contrast the two divergent elements and create one uniform whole. Oodgeroo is confused about the purpose of civilisation, she “could not understand” and was “puzzled”.

Oodgeroo employs blank verse structure to freely reflect her and deliver her thoughts of “foreboding” future and she is not constricted by rhyme. For aboriginal people, “each day [was a] holiday” however, white civilisation has brought them “clocks, time-tables” they have to pay “rents and taxes”. Contrasting, Dawe uses _ structure, “fires” “aspires”, “bird” “third” and “caught” “fought”, each stanza rhymes to engage his reader and this helps him to generalise his poem amongst wider range of population. He employs personification of “forests sigh and fall” to exemplify that the environment has feelings and makes the reader more sympathetic towards the environment. At the end of the stanza, he utilises rhetorical question of “what shall then withstand the blast” to ask the reader of what will survive if pollution continues to accumulate. All three poets raise awareness through their poems to condemns the ever-increasing destruction of the environment. Wright makes the reader aware of both the danger and destruction caused by the “alderman” to the environment. Oodgeroo’s poems invites the reader to comprehend defiant nature of the “brumby’ and exposes them to dispossession faced by the aboriginal of their land and their culture. Dawe’s poems generate a feeling of loneliness and blank verse-form condemns the ever-increasing destruction of the environment.

Cite this The poets Judith Wright, Oodgeroo of the Noonuccal tribe and Bruce Dawe

The poets Judith Wright, Oodgeroo of the Noonuccal tribe and Bruce Dawe. (2021, Feb 12). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-poets-judith-wright-oodgeroo-of-the-noonuccal-tribe-and-bruce-dawe/

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