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    Australian Identity Through Poetry Essay

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    The Australian identity is as diverse as the country itself. Each and every Australian has a unique perception of Australia, yet there is also a common awareness of Australia as a whole. The Australian identity also concerns the way Australians are viewed by other people. There are many different aspects to this identity, which Include historical Icons, such as bushmasters and convicts, and more recent developments In Australia, such as the surfing culture, and even our language, which has been adapted over two hundred years to become what it is today.

    There are any stereotypes of Australia, yet most of these are based on real traditions or quirks. This essay will analyses the poems Cleanly of the Overflow written by A. B. Paterson, and compare and contrast it with Anta’s Gone With Cattle by Henry Lawson. Both of these poems are about life without the men that have ‘gone a-droving’ in Queensland. Droving Is one of the original stereotypes of Australia, and is an important part of our Identity. Cleanly of the Overflow Is one of ‘Banjo’ Paterson most famous works.

    It Is a wistful poem comparing the freedom of droving to the monotonous toll of city life. This Is expressed with phrases such as “For the drover’s life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know”. Paterson uses many techniques to portray the conflicting lives of city slickers and farmers. He uses visual imagery to perfection, painting a vivid picture of ‘Cleanly’, leading a jolly life droving cattle and living under the stars, and then compares it with “the footed air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city through the open window floating”. Banjo’ also uses metaphor, again to emphasis the differences between city and country life, especially in verse six, with “And in place of owing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle of the tramways and the buses making hurry down the street” which also appeals to the senses. Cleanly of the Overflow Is a very ordered poem, using metered verse, with an AAA BC ad sec rhyme pattern. Overall, this poem expresses an Interesting view of Australia, mainly using contrast to express the point of view.

    It communicates most Australians’ love of the bush, and the outdoors, and their pride in Australia, and also the very stereotypical, but somewhat relevant ‘Crocodile Dundee, the average Susie bloke’ attitude/approach. Paterson pent his most enjoyable years in the bush, doing one job or another, which is something he had in common with his character ‘Cleanly. Anta’s Gone With Cattle by Henry Lawson, is also about a cheerful character with a love for the outback. However, Lawson himself was very bitter about the bush, and bush life, although It was the topic of many of his works.

    He had an unhappy childhood, and was deaf by the age of 14. He was a writer for many newspapers, but although he was a fantastic writer, he often had trouble keeping Jobs, because of his alcoholism and depression, and he was often In Jail. Mental Illness ran In his family, and he even attempted suicide once. Debated with him over their conflicting views of life in the bush. This conflict in opinion is apparent, when comparing Anta’s Gone With Cattle and Cleanly of the Overflow.

    For example, Lawson describes droving as going to “battle ‘against Drought, the red marauder”, and uses personification to express drought as a villain, which sneaks up when you aren’t looking, and steals away the rain, whereas Paterson describes droving as a privilege, an elusive life of freedom, “where the seasons come and go”. Lawson uses many techniques to express the sad, worried and almost bitter mood of the poem, including repetition, with the words “Anta’s gone with cattle” and “Andy went a-droving” to stress the fact that ‘Andy’ is gone.

    The name ‘Andy’ is also repeated throughout the poem, to emphasis his importance on the selection he has left to go droving, and how he was taken for granted before he left. This is quite different from Cleanly of the Overflow where there is no repetition. As in Paterson poem, Anta’s Gone With Cattle uses metered verse in strictly throughout the poem, but in an ABA pattern, and uses short lines, which gives the impression of detached resentment to unfortunate circumstances, however in Cleanly of the Overflow the mood is more of wistful regret.

    In both poems, the main character’s voice is completely silent, the poems are about them, however we do not hear anything of their opinions on the subject matter. We do not know what ‘Andy’ thought of leaving his home for droving, or what thoughts ‘Cleanly’ had on droving compared to city life. As with Cleanly of the Overflow, Anta’s Gone With Cattle is about a famous and distinctive Australian tradition that is a very important part of Australia’s identity as a action, which is very dependent on the bush as a source for icons.

    Most of our national icons are based around the bush, or bush life, for example, bushmasters, squatters, kangaroos and wallabies, backyard barbecues, and flies. Although at first glance these two poems appear quite similar, they are in truth quite different in the stance that each takes about droving, and the Australian bush. This is supported by the background information on both poems and poets. However both poems express valid views of life in the bush, which is an important Australian icon and a significant part of the Australian identity.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Australian Identity Through Poetry Essay. (2017, Dec 30). Retrieved from

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