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The manipulation of dialogue within a text can impact greatly on the audiences’ perception of character and situation. The module ‘Experience through language’ has revealed the way in which dialogue can be used to portray characters and situations in a variety of contexts. The three poems ‘Enter without so much as knocking’, ‘Weapons training’ and ‘Big Jim’ by Brice Daw support the idea in which dialogue can be used to show values and beliefs.
One additional text that further exemplifies dialogue is a short story, ‘The test’ by Angelica Gibbs. Dialogue is conversation between people in which language is used to show the interaction of characters in a social context. Sometimes language can involve a dramatic monologue in which one person may represent their inner most feelings and desires. A composer can use dialogue to highlight feelings and emotions in a more dramatic way than simply describing them.
Bruce Dawe is a social satirist who deals with conte mporary problems. He brings his poems to life by giving them a realistic vernacular voice that allows him to highlight peoples’ attitudes in certain situations. ‘Enter without so much as knocking’ is a sarcastic look at the negative features of modern life, particularly materialism. Dawe explores such themes as dehumanisation and social conformity and uses a range of language and structural techniques to help support these themes.
Daw makes use of techniques such as exaggeration, sarcasm and caricature to ridicule the materialism that infects modern society; “NO BREATHING EXCEPT BY ORDER”, this deliberate exaggeration and the use of capitol letters convey the congestion and stress that is present in our society. Dawe also uses an irregular structure to emphasise the chaotic environment, which is present day society. The use of dialogue helps set the scene of this situation. Materialism is expressed through a ceaseless literary of advertising slogans, rules, instructions and cliches.
Advertising jargon, for example, “one economy sized mum” and, “Anthony Squires coolstream summerweight dad” is deliberately used to characterise the people as having no individuality or identity. Figurative language such as similes, “like kids at the circus” and alliteration, “faces snarled screamed” is manipulated so that the responders get a vivid picture of what is being described, which impacts strongly on the audience’s perception of character and situation.
‘Weapons Training’ is a poem written in the form of an address being given to a group of raw recruits by an experienced, roughly spoken, gruff mannered sergeant. His manner is intimidating and derogatory and his authoritative tone emphasises his control over them. Control, debasement and danger are all themes that are present in this poem. Daw uses stereotypes to help depict the image of a ranting army sergeant. The emotive language creates techniques of fear, anger and frustration and personalised attacks such as “are you queer?
” increases the sense of menace and vulgarity. These techniques are effective in characterising the sergeant and making the audience feel uneasy. Word choice is a particularly valuable technique in this poem. The terminology while simple is packed with double meaning that helps develop a pervading negative atmosphere. Monosyllabic words such as “click”, “queer” and “tit” give the poem a blunt and direct feel while polysyllabic words including “bloody” add layers of meaning.