“Down at the Dump”

The story “Down at the Dump” is a tale about two different types of people in the community. One that does not have all the fancy material things in life, yet they have this feeling of contentment that made them leave their lives peaceful and happy.  They may not have the wealth and degrees to boast, but they are appreciative of what they have. They are very much proud of their simple and laid-back way of living. On the other hand, there is this other type of people in the community who are well off and more educated, yet they seem to be living in a bubble of dream pretending to be perfect people free from any flaws of immoral conduct. They are very conscious of how they would be perceived by the people in their community. These people are consumed by the thought that they must protect their reputation against the judgemental eyes of society. They are hiding their true character and nature by pretending to be happy and nice to everyone in their community. Meg and Lummy also show a different character with the adults in the story. They represent the bold and daring character of the young generation. They are more accepting and less judgemental. This shows how the nature of human beings changes depending on the generation and their influences.

    Patrick White viewed human nature in this story as a complex character of human beings. Every individual has a distinct character and sensuality which could vary depending on the influences that surround them. These influences could be from the environment that they had been living, traditional family beliefs that they had been practicing and their personal experiences. These aspects play a big role in creating a distinct character or individuality of a human being.

Image taken from: Flickr.com; Quote by Anon(veganposter.com)

Martin Sharp’s tapestry: Oz

Photo taken from: Australian Art Auction Records

       Looking at Martin Sharp’s tapestry, we can easily perceive that it talks about some of the significant events and milestone in Australia’s history. The colours used were bright colours of red, yellow, blue, green and white. This is a combination of the Australian national colours and the colours found in the Australian flag. In the middle of the tapestry we can easily see these group of 5 white stars called the Southern Cross. This represents the geographical location of Australia in the Southern hemisphere. The ocean, fishes and the red star fish could represent Australia’s abundance in natural resources and marine biodiversity. A picture of the Harbour Bridge is standing prominently at the background which perhaps symbolizes the country’s strong defence and economic stability. On the left corner we can see the silhouette of the famous Opera house, representing Australia’s cultural progress. A picture of a white Galleon can be seen on the silhouette of the Opera house. This could represent England’s exploration and colonization of Australia. Uluru, near the left corner, acknowledges Australia’s traditional custodians. It is the Indigenous people’s sacred place of worship. The Opera House features the fusion of the past colonial history and  modernisation of the country.

       I think this tapestry is a celebration of Australia’s great achievements and successes. Australia has become a fully developed country moving forward to the 21th century with its diversities and modernization without forgetting its past Aboriginal culture. It is a picture celebrating the rise of the new Australia.

Understanding Dame Mary Gilmore’s poem “Eve song”

        “Eve Song” is a poem that described the remarkable characteristics that are inherent to an Australian woman. She portrayed the Australian female as strong, affectionate and hard working. She used the name “Eve” to depict a woman full of beauty, compassion and character.

However, no matter how valuable women were, they still felt left alone, taken for granted and not given enough importance in their family. The society was male dominated. Indeed, there existed gender inequality even way back then. This was something Mary Gilmore despised being a promoter of woman’s right. She expressed her disappointments and frustrations towards men, by criticizing their behaviour, challenging their strength and demeaning their integrity.

         I sense a love and hate connection between man and the woman in the poem. The woman expresses her frustrations and disappointments towards men, yet giving also their arms as comforting pillows for their man to rest. There was a conflict between the woman’s emotion and their actions which was apparently described in the last two stanzas of the poem. Women’s emotions can sometimes be subtle to man. Their forgiving and sensible nature could often be misunderstood as their weakness. Playing the role of a wife and a mother, woman carries a significant portion of raising a family. The unending obligations and daily challenges can be emotionally and physically draining. It takes away a lot of a woman’s freedom as well. However, the loving nature of a woman can be veiled. Women often set aside their own personal frustrations and sentiments for the sake of their love ones. They often choose to reconcile, forgive and continue to love even more.

Photo taken from Pinterest; Pin by Ali Stanfield

John Glover: “Patterdale Farm”

       Patterdale Farm was a painting that depicted an Australian farm landscape in Tasmania way back in the early 18th century. Looking at the painting we could perceive what John Glover wanted us to see and experience through the picture.

        The vast and green surroundings provided a calm and relaxing feeling, ideal for an afternoon rest after a long day of hard work. The late afternoon sunlight gives a fair low temperature perfectly blended for anyone to enjoy such a peaceful and cosy atmosphere. This portrait must have been painted in spring time. All the grasses are green, and the leaves of the trees are alive and in full bloom. The cattle seemed to be in their best place enjoying a favourable time under the sun.

Upon looking closer at the painting, we see a gentleman wearing a nice blue tailcoat sitting down under the tree looking up at the mountain with a dog beside him. He didn’t look like a herdsman to me. He looked more like a speculator scouting for a perfect place to be utilized and be made profitable. He looked lonely as he only had a dog for a companion.

        This was a very detailed painting recreating the beautiful, vast and raw Australian landscape. Perhaps this was what the early colonial people wanted to show to the people in England so they would be encouraged to move and live in Australia.

D.H. Lawrence: The “Invisible Beauty” of the landscape

         In D.H Lawrence’s prose (Kangaroo, in 1923), he was vividly describing what he had seen and experienced in the Australian landscape on his train ride through Sydney. D. H Lawrence is known for the connotations and contrasts in his writings making it quite challenging to grasp, hence our understanding of his prose will depend on how we contextualize what he’s trying to characterize. In his prose he was giving his point of view to the Australian landscape as having an “invisible beauty”.

          In my own understanding, the “Invisible Beauty” in D.H. Lawrence prose means the indescribable beauty of the landscape. It is fresh, vibrant, natural and untouched. Its beauty may not be seen by our naked eyes, but you can sense and feel its infinite abundance and richness. There is this mystical charm that draws anyone’s attention to its hidden qualities. D.H. Lawrence is an English writer who spent most of his life in England, thus he could be a little bit biased in giving his observation. However, he still tried to be truthful in expressing his point of view by describing the landscape as having an “invisible beauty”. He may not have seen anything like England but he had sensed its uniqueness and felt this different aura which gives a refreshing and welcoming feeling to the Australian landscape.

Judith Wright: “The Wattle Tree”

Judith Wright was an environmentalist poet. She had an extraordinary connection to the land, nature and environment which are always characterized and easily perceived in her poems.

          In her poem “The Wattle Tree” she speaks about the “four truths -earth, water, air and the sun”. These are the four basic elements essential for all living creatures to remain alive and continue to exist. These “four truth” bridges the gap between the human, land and the nature. They are interconnected to each other and have important roles to take part. Trees and human have a lot of resemblance.  Humans are like trees, they need land to live, air to breath in, water to hydrate its physical body and the sun to keep them warm. Even if trees do not have the voice, they can still give their message through the blossom of each flowers, leaves and smells. Trees like each human being they also possess its own unique beauty and qualities.                                                          

          The poem shows how deep Judith Wright’s attachment to the land and nature that she was able to personify herself as the Wattle Tree. She was able to immortalized herself through her poem. Her poems and writings becomes her living legacy that have been passed on for the next generation to be celebrated and cherished.

Our first class discussion

I had a wonderful time listening to our first class discussion. The first poems that we studied were written by Errol West and Eva Johnson. They are both aboriginal people who were part of the “Stolen Generation” also known as the “Stolen children”. How these two poets are able to describe their traumatic experience and make it into a beautiful poem is exceptional! It was revealed in their poems the terrifying details of how they were forcibly taken away from their parents and families and were placed into a missionary house at young age. They were displaced from their own traditional lands. They have lost their cultural, spiritual and family bonds which leaves a tremendous impact in their lives and wellbeing.

          I feel sad to know what the indigenous people had to undergo back then. Surely their enormous suffering leaves a big scar in the memories of each indigenous person who survived. I feel for those children who were part of the “Stolen Generation”. They have lost not only their parents and loved ones but also their self identity in the process. They were innocent people who became victims of this unrealistic belief of creating an “all white civilization”, a new Britain in the South.