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Oodgeroo Noonuccal Essay Essay

How the language of ‘We are going and ‘Let us not be bitter’ demonstrates Oodgeroo Noonuccal’s perspective on Aboriginal rights.

Oodgeroo Noonuccal was an Australian poet, activist, artist and a campaigner for Aboriginal rights. Her poems ‘We are going’ and ‘Let us not be bitter’ conveys the loss of the Indigenous culture and how much they suffered because of this. Oodgeroo Noonuccal’s perspective on Aboriginal rights is impassioned, concern and worry for the loss of her family and home. She expresses these emotions using imagery, poetic structures and poetic techniques, such as inclusive language and symbolism, to strongly represent what she is feeling and how much the Indigenous people have suffered through.

Oodgeroo Noonuccal uses vivid imagery to describe the environment around her and how the beauty of the land changed since the arrival of European settlers. The poet described her and her people as part of the land with this quote from the poem ‘We are going’; “ We are nature and the past, all the old ways.” This emphasises that the Indigenous people were one with the land. But Oodgeroo also describes how she felt her people were being treated and how the white invaders took care of the sacred land; “Notice of the estate agent reads ‘Rubbish May Be Tipped Here’”. She says this to convey that the white men are not only treating the land like trash, but also the home of Indigenous people and their livelihood. The use of imagery shows Oodgeroo Noonuccal’s despair and misery towards what had happened to the treatment of the sacred land and the Aboriginal people.

In the poem ‘Let us not be bitter’, Oodgeroo Noonuccal uses a poetic structure known as enjambment. An example of enjambment can be seen here from the poem ‘Let us not be bitter’; “Let us try to understand the white man’s ways / And accept them as they accept us”. The constant flow in Oodgeroo’s poem, ‘Let us not be bitter’, helps influence her people to move on and continue with life. This particular sentence shows her determination for her people because she urges the Indigenous to move forward and to unite with the white invaders even after all the hardship they had faced. Therefore, this particular poetic structure, enjambment, helps convey Oodgeroo Noonuccal’s willpower and passion for the uniting and reconciliation between the Indigenous people of Australia and the European settlers, despite the hardship they had gone through.

Oodgeroo Noonuccal uses poetic techniques such as inclusive language and symbolism to help present her strong passion of Aboriginal rights. Throughout both the ‘We are going’ and ‘Let us not be bitter’ poems, Oodgeroo Noonuccal uses inclusive language. This language technique uses words such as ‘we’, ‘us’ which includes more than one person. In the poem ‘We are going’, some examples of inclusive language are evident in the following phrases: “We are the corroboree and the bora ground, / We are the old ceremonies, the laws of the elders.” Not only is inclusive language used for emphasising the Indigenous people’s togetherness with each other but it also shows how they are one with the land and their culture. In ‘Let us not be bitter’, inclusive language can be seen this sentence: “Time for us stood still; now we know”. In these examples, inclusive language is used to show that no matter what happens, Oodgeroo Noonuccal’s people will always be together.

It also explains how no one is left out – the act of Kanyini. Symbolism is another language technique Oodgeroo Noonuccal uses in both of her poems. An example of symbolism in the poem ‘We are going’ is; “Where now the many white men hurry about like ants”. Not only is there symbolism evident in this sentence but a language technique called simile is present as well. In ‘Let us not be bitter’, this sentence shows the use of symbolism: “The future comes like dawn after the dark”. Symbolism in ‘We are going’ helps convey the image of the European people probably on their way to work with blank faces. This also shows that the Aboriginal people consider them as ants due to the fact that they cant tell the difference from one European to another. This may be because the white people act like robots or machines in the way they work and act. In ‘Let us not be bitter’, symbolism is used to show and represent that light was comes after the dark. It is used to show hope for the Aboriginal people.

Oodgeroo Noonuccal is an Australian poet who wrote the poems ‘We are going’ and ‘Let us not be bitter’. Her perspective on Aboriginal rights is concern, passion and worry for her people and land. Using vivid imagery, poetic structure, enjambment for example, and poetic techniques such as inclusive language and symbolism conveys these feelings to her audience clearly. Oodgeroo uses vivid imagery to show her despair and misery towards what had happened to the treatment of the sacred land and the Aboriginal people. She uses a poetic structure called enjambment to help convince the Indigenous people to continue to move on like the flow of her poem. An Oodgeroo Noonuccal uses poetic techniques such as inclusive language and symbolism to explain the Aboriginal people’s connection to the land how there is always light after the dark.


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