How can the Australian identity be seen through poetry

These are just a few of the questions that will be answered in the duration of my talk. I have chosen a very famous Australian Poet who goes by the name of Henry Lawson who many believe was the first poet to catch the Australian way of life.

Born in 1867 on a goldfield in rural New South Wales Lawson was brought up in a very poor family. His father worked at the local mine. Lawson’s mother gave him lots of books and due to an ear infection Henry became party deaf, then at 14, totally deaf.He was isolated from his peers at school because of his disability and got in a habit of looking at the way people act by constantly watching them. As Henry grew older he developed a strong connection with the early Australian settlers and their hardships.

Lawson was very strong about what he believed was the true Australian identity in the poems ‘The Men Who Made Australia’ and ‘The Roaring Days’ by describing the men as “lion hearted,” and “using the strength of heart and lung. ” Lawson represents Australians as people who never give up and battle everything out till the end for the love of their land.The Roaring days was written around the time of the gold rush and The Men Who Made Australia was written in the late 19th Century when white people were in the stages of settlement. ‘The Roaring Days’ uses great language to express Lawson’s love for the land.

Lawson questions, “Oh, who would paint a goldfield, And limn the picture right. ” There is a strong message that Lawson is sending out and that is that our country is so perfect and no-one could ever redo it and make it better than it already was. There are also areas of Australian characteristics portrayed in this poem.Lawson talks about mateship and brotherhood. The poem talks about how Australians love to sing when the, “good old songs were sung.

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” There is a very strong male dominant discourse in this poem with the references to the men battling the hardships of a lion hearted Australian who gave our country birth. “The Roaring Days” illustrates Australia as a land of promise and hope “That sought the land of Promise, That beaconed in the south,” the reason for these analyses is because this was at the time of the gold rush and Australia was full of riches. The Roaring days’ states, “I hear the fall of timber …

As clear as little bells. “This was the time of development and change. Towards the end of the poem there is a feeling of reminisces and that is that Australians were reluctant to the idea of change. They loved the land and loved the way it was but when the early settlers came for the gold rush when, “The Brooding bush, Awakened. ” “The camping grounds are green …

The mighty bush with iron rails Is tethered to the world. Australia is now apart of the mainland, the bush is now with, “iron rails. ” This meant that Australia was now becoming well known with the super powers in the world like America. There was nothing else to do but move on, “and tramp to another ground. ” Lawson implies that there is nothing anyone can do that can take away the true Australian identity, that we are just going to move on and continue our way of life no matter what. Representing the Australian attitude to never give up.Even though this was the time of economic growth and environmental destruction, it actually seem as if the leaders of Australia didn’t care about the countries future and they were only living for the present. ‘The Men Who Made Australia’ questions the need of Australians, the men who truly formed young country, having the tie with England.

There are a few cases of some typical Aussie dry humour present in this poem where Lawson make fun of the fact that the owners of the country are not familiar with any knowledge of the outback Australia.Once again there is a very strong male dominant discourse very similar to ‘The Roaring Days’ that is the mention of mateship and brotherhood. “For all the sons of Australia, they were born to conquer fate, And, where charity and friendship are sincere, Where a sinner is a brother and a stranger is a mate,” The oppositional discourse in this poem is the Europeans dominating Australia this is evident at the start of the second stanza, “You shall meet the awful lady of the latest Birthday Knight. ” Lawson here is mentioning that even if an Australian doesn’t know another Australian we still call them our mate.Another Australian characteristic brought up was that Australians are extremely hardworking battlers to be awarded a, “Cheque to feed the wife and kids. ” Lawson repeats getting his meaning across on how Australians are hard working in a few stanzas, “Thrown from horses, ripped by cattle,” to being, “Dragged behind the crawling sheep-flock on the hot and dusty plain. ” There is some irony is both of these poems that is that they both claim they have a strong connection to the lands, but why isn’t there any connection to the original bushmen, the true Australian bushmen that has inhabited the land for over 40 000 years.

The Aboriginal. There is absolutely no mention whatsoever about the things that the Aboriginals contributed to the land. Perhaps they weren’t even noticed, perhaps they were isolated further into the bush where if they had a problem it wouldn’t be an issue the newly urbanised Australia. Sure they would have had the same hardships and the battles with surviving in the bush but they had done it their whole lives so some could argue the Aboriginals had it harder. These poems without doubt defiantly catch the idea of the Australian identity.There is a very dominant masculine discourse throughout both of these poems and a great romanticism of the Australian relationship with the land and the idea of mateship and loyalty. Lawson has covered every Australian characteristic from ‘the hard working Aussie’ to the ‘Aussie that is genuine and a faithful mate. Even though Lawson recognizes the identity of most of the Australians that, “Made Australia,” he doesn’t see the irony of the old fashioned, hardworking farmers being the creators of Australia.

Perhaps when Lawson one realises this, the original Australians which are the Aborigines will “take their places sternly by-and-by. “