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What is the poem about? The Poem follows the journey of a man’s life from birth into society to death. It shows how he and his family conform to society as becomes just like everybody else taking a critical view of modern day society. The signs throughout the poem indicate that we, as humans, are told how to live. Beginning with the birth of the child in the hospital, comes home to hear Bobby Dazzler on the TV, where the baby is seen as lucky because he doesn’t understand what he is saying doesn’t mean anything to him.
As a young child it is shown how he and his family conformed to be like every other family. As a young boy his mum won some money where the family was able to buy the typical ‘Australian’ station wagon. Going into young adult hood he changes from being optimistic to becoming just like everybody else and losing his individuality, greedy for money only thinking about himself.
By death he is seen to have been an untrustworthy and selfish man. They try to give his body an identity “adding a healthy tan he’d never had” What is the poet trying to say?
The main idea of the poem is Memento, homo, quia pulvis, et in pulverem reverteris… Remember man that thoughart dust and unto dust that shall return. The poet is trying to say that it doesn’t matter how many consumer items and materialistic things you buy, everybody ends up the same way, back to dust again.
He is trying to say that the world is run buy consumerism which has lead to conformity and taken away the individuality of many people. The conformity is shown in stanza three through the signs which we all live by.
Bruce Dawe highlights that humans seem to destroy and change everything they can get their hands on, but they have been unable to change the stars, or had gotten around to fixing them yet. Dawe shows that as we change from childhood to adulthood our views on the world and society change, we become more greedy, selfish and most people only care about themselves in order to get ahead in life. We no longer appreciate the simple things as we get older and we tend to worry too much about the small things.
Analyse the poetic devices/ Style of the poem Repetition: Hello, Hello, Hello Metaphor: A pure unadulterated fringe of sky, littered with stars. Short sentences vs long sentences. The short sentences indicate how society tells us we should live. The long sentences highlight the chaotic nature of life and how at times it can be out of control. Sarcasm /cynicism- Dawe makes many comments in which he is critical of Australian society- our lack of morals, materialism/ onsumerism. How does it fit into the theme- Identity and belonging? The poem shows how many people try to conform to what is normal and how it is seen that they should live their lives. The young man in the poem loses his identity as he becomes an adult, as he becomes just like everybody else “money-hungry backstabbing” suggests that the world is dominated by these types of identities and to belong he also must become like this.
The poem also suggests that buying materialistic items is apart of belonging to society “Good as new station wagon”. Identity has been attempted to be restored upon his death “first class job on his face” yet in the end we all end up back to dust without identity.
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