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    The poetry of Judith Wright Essay

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    This treatment of using the landscape to convey feelings is used in ‘South of My Days’ and ‘Boar Ring’. Wright also has a strong connection to the past, the heritage of Australia which reveals her Australian conscience, her link with Australia’s past coupled with her strong link to the land. Wright’s ‘Australian Identity’ is firmly established through per poetry with her use of ideas that have become synonymous with the Australian stereotype: what people recognize as being uniquely ‘Australian’.

    This includes her mention of bushmasters, the reference to the lost Aboriginal robber, the description of the stereotypical Australian outback and the attitudes shown by both herself and the characters in her poems: characteristics recognized as ‘typically Australian’. These features of her poetry have established Wright as a truly ‘Australian’ poet. Judith Wright has a strong connection to the Australian landscape, and the ideas she conveys through her poetry are very much steeped in nature.

    This link to the Australian landscape immediately distinguishes Wright as an Australian poet and this is especially evident in ‘South of my Days’. Wright describes this connection in he first line as part of my blood’s country’. The use of the word ‘blood’ in connection to the land shows this strong bond, immediately identifying Wright as a part of the Australian landscape, rather than her being Just an admirer. This ‘blood’ connection to the Australian landscape is an integral part of Wright’s ‘Australian Identity’ as it is created through her poetry.

    Wright’s ‘blood’ connection to the landscape thus enables her to express her feelings through descriptions of the landscape, allowing the land to become a metaphor for the way that she feels. The ‘bony slopes wincing ender the winter’ aptly describes Wright’s feelings towards the coming of winter and the feeling is emphasized through the use of Personification. Again this highlights Wright’s bond to the land as elements of the landscape are described as if the poet herself were feeling it. Such a powerful connection to the land defines Wright as Australian as a result of such a strong link to the landscape.

    In Judith Wright’s poetry the landscape acts metaphorically to describe her feelings towards what is being addressed in the poem. This is evident in “Boar Ring” where the landscape is used to describe Wright’s sadness and sense of loss at the extinction of traditional Aboriginal culture caused white settlement in Australia. Judith Wright has an understanding of the Aboriginal culture and “Boar Ring” mourns the loss of Aboriginal culture at the hands of white settlers. ‘The song is gone’ and with the white domination of Australia the ‘tribal story (is)/ lost in an alien tale’.

    An element of blame is passed on to the white population of Australia to recognize the social injustice that has caused such a loss of culture and traditions. The use of short phrases such as ‘The song is gone’ and ‘The nomad feet are still’ rive home the message of white responsibility for this loss. This message of blame is conveyed through nature images, acting to show Wright’s feelings towards the abandoned traditions symbolized by the deserted ‘dancing-ring’ marked only by standing grass.

    This and the posturing apple-gums miming a ‘past corroboree’ alone with the ‘broken chant’ act as a metaphor to describe Wright’s sense of loss and devastation. Wright’s use of the landscape to express her feelings towards the loss Aboriginal culture is strongly linked with her Australian identity: not only in the use f the Australian landscape to describe her feelings, but also in the recognition of t loss of Aboriginal culture at white hands. This shows that Wright not only has an innate understanding of the Australian landscape, but of the people whom this connection to the landscape is shared.

    Judith Wright shows ‘typical Australian’ qualities in her poetry, as shown both by herself and by characters in her poems. Wright’s support of the marginal’s aboriginal population in ‘Boar Ring’ along with the blame pointed at society shows Wright to be sympathetic to the ‘underdog’: a ‘typical’ Australian quality. Her connection with the Aboriginals stems back to her connection to the land, something the Aboriginals shared, as they too were protectors of the land.

    The recognition of such social injustice along with such an element of caring is an ‘Australian’ trait and is an important facet of Wright’s ‘Australian identity’. The remaining aboriginal culture remains an important part of Australian society, even though now it is a minority culture. Wright’s concern with the loss of Aboriginal culture shows that her Australian identity comes from not only an understanding of Australia’s landscape UT an understanding of Australia’s culture which is demonstrated in her poetry. ‘Australian’ traits are not shown only by Wright herself, but by characters in her poems.

    This is shown in ‘South of my Days’ with the character of ‘old Dan’. In him the uniquely Australian ‘laid back’ spirit is captured, with him letting Thunderbolt the bushmaster run free, giving ‘him a wink’, warning him of the police Just behind. The ‘Australian’ characteristics of sympathy, compassion, and a relaxed spirit give Wright’s poetry an Australian flavor and such contribute greatly to Wright’s condensation as being an Australian poet. Australia’s heritage is an important concern in Judith Wright’s poetry.

    Australia’s pa is seen by Wright as an important part of Australia and in her poetry Wright identified herself with Australia’s colonial past, the hardships suffered by Australia’s pioneers and the changes faced during the settlement of Australia. Wright’s identification wit Australia’s past is seen in ‘South of my Days’ with the stories of ‘old Dan’ which become a part of Wright’s feeling towards Australia and form an important part of her ‘Australian Identity’. Old Dawn’s stories are spun ‘into a blanket against the winter’ and become a part of Wright’s feeling towards her country.

    The tales of hardship suffered by Australia’s settlers are described in a drought with ‘the mud round them/ hardened like iron… And the river was dust’. Through Dawn’s stories the past of Australia comes to life and thus constitutes an important significance in the poem as the past of Australia is etched in the land which Wright is so strongly connected to, and that land’s part is equally important. This trait of Wright’s poetry is also reflected n ‘Boar Ring’ the changes that white settlement brings are highlighted through the abandonment and subsequent loss of traditional Aboriginal culture.

    This highlights another aspect of Wright’s search into the past of Australia: Old Dawn’s stories depict the hardships the white settlers faced while building the nation whereas ‘Boar Ring’ explores the consequences of white settlement on the indigenous population. The history of Australia becomes a part of Wright, describing Australia as the ‘high lean country/ full of old stories that still go walking in my sleep’. Judith Wright’s ‘Australian identity’ is firmly established through the use of ideas that have become synonymous with that one recognizes to be uniquely ‘Australian’.

    This is especially evident in ‘South of my Days’. In the first Stanza Wright describes her ‘blood’ connection to outback Australia with the ‘low trees blue-leaved and olive’. This distinctive description of outback Australia instantly defines Wright as an Australian poet as the reader associates such a description with the typical ‘Australian’ outback scene. It is not only Australia’s outward landscape that is stereotyped, but the harsh limited depicted in ‘South of my Days’ is instantly recognized as Australian.

    The droughts with the hardened mud and the dried dusty rivers are Juxtaposed with the early blizzards show the extreme weather conditions that the outback areas of Australia are prone to. The mention of bushmasters along with the laid back attitude displayed by ‘old Dan’ add to the unique Australian flavor that ‘South of my Days’ holds. The use of these ideas that have become ‘typically’ Australian show Judith Wright to be a truly Australian poet with an innate knowledge and feel for her country. Judith Wright’s ‘Australian identity’ is evident throughout all of her poetry.

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    The poetry of Judith Wright Essay. (2018, Jan 22). Retrieved from

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