University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
How Does Australias Landscape Depicted in Poetry
Australia is a land of great contrast and diversity, its physical landscape is one of many of its great features, and its diversity is very broad. The poem My Country by Dorothea Mackellar greatly relates to the beauty and size of the Australian landscape. The poems Alcohol by Peter Goldsworthy and Metho-Drinker by Judith Wright relate to the Australia’s attitudes towards the misuse of drugs and alcohol in modern Australian society. These issues are also shown a lot in the movie ‘Beneath Clouds’, directed by Ivan Sen.
The poem ‘My country’ describes Australia’s landscape with great extent and shows the author loves for this land using many examples. In this poem the author tries to bring Australia to its simplest form, the use of poetic techniques such as metaphors and similes, or the use of personification. ‘I love her jewel sea’, this metaphor gives the effect of preciousness and shows how special Australia really is to her (Dorothea Mackellar). Another example is the quote ‘the pityless blue sky’, which is personification and gives the blue sky an attitude towards the land beneath them, and of cause it’s referring to Australia’s drought.
The land of the rainbow gold”, the author is describing her view of Australia, her love for the country. Another example of how ‘My Country’ depicts the Australian landscape is using alliteration, ‘for flood and fire and famine’, these are all common natural disasters, showing the complexity of the country, the good and bad side. “All you who have not loved her, you will not understand”, this quote is the author saying that no one will understand her love for the country. Alcohol is a poem that is about the problem of alcohol in society, it is written in a first person form and shows the thoughts of a youth boy using alcohol.
The poem is appeals on an emotional level, as it describes the joy of alcohol for teenagers. The quote “Surf’s up, I said at school. My drinking friends came round”. This quote from the poem really shows the boy’s initial attitude towards alcohol, he is looking back and reflecting his times as a teenage boy. This quote relates to Australia’s diversity as underage drinking is a known problem in today’s society. “Why such simple stuff work magic in the mind”, this quote gives a good idea of the teenage boy’s perspective of alcohol at the time, he also refers to it as “a rain hat fell from heaven”, and also “proof of god”, these references show his love and reliance on alcohol. The poem relates to Australian society very greatly, it shows the perspective of many teenagers in modern society, also it shows how innocent alcohol can look, but still carry the long term effects if abused. Metho Drinker is a poem about a man that is hopeless and near death due to the misuse of alcohol and methylated spirits. Methylated spirits are often a used drug in Australian society today. Unfortunately 73% of users are aboriginal, and 60% of that are in outback Australia.
It is a big problem in today’s society. “Under the death of winters leaves”, this quote is the first line in the poem, it initially creates miserable visual imagery and sets a sad mood. “O take from me the weight and waterfall ceaseless time that batters down my weakness; the knives of light”. This quote is describing the man’s view on his life, ‘O take from me the weight’, he is saying take me from this life of hopelessness. He describes the daytime as ‘the knives of light’, he is saying this because the light shows who he has really become. His white and burning girl, his woman of fire, creeps to his heart and sets a candle there”. The quote is referring to methylated spirits being his ‘woman of fire’, a woman generally being a man’s wife and most important thing to them. Also the author uses personification by referring to the ‘metho’ as ‘his white and burning girl’.
“To melt away the flesh that hides from bone, to eat the nerve that tethers him in time”. Now the author is creating a gruesome atmosphere using visual imagery, it is describing the effects of the ‘metho’ on the homeless man. It was for death he took her; death is but this; and yet he is uneasy under her kiss and winces from that acid of her desire”. This quote is the final three lines of the poem, it is describing the man’s attitude towards his problems, and he drank the ‘metho’ in order to take his own life. This poem relates to Australia quite a lot, it shows the perspective of drug addicts, homeless people and alcoholics. There are a lot of problems in Australia regarding unemployment and housing, this creates a very unstable lifestyle for a lot of Australians causing them to lose their homes, family and friends.
The movie ‘Beneath Clouds’, directed by Ivan Sen is about two young aboriginal teenagers searching for a better life. Lena, a light-skinned daughter of an Aboriginal mother and Irish father and Vaughn, an aboriginal boy in minimum security prison in North West NSW. Striking events throw them together on a journey with no money and no transport. To Lena, Vaughn represents the life she is running away from. To Vaughn, Lena represents the society that has rejected him. And for a short amount of time they experience happiness together.
The movie is set in the outback of New South Wales, showing a very broad landscape background for 70 percent of the movie. It is set like this to show the ‘emptiness’ of the town, and to show how far away general society is. Lena is running away from her family because of the implications that alcohol had on her family. Before she run’s away she looks at a photo of how her family used to be, but previously see the mother drinking and abusing her, and the son getting taken away by the police.
Alcohol were being drank by both the mother and father, with empty beer bottles over the house, this showing the abuse of alcohol in that household. Vaughn is a 19 year old aboriginal boy who escapes jail and somehow ends up running away with Lena. During the journey we see a lot of racism, shown evident in three scenes. The woman driving on the road, about to pick Lena up, then see’s Vaughn and drives straight off, the policemen’s attitude towards the aboriginal man’s car and also when Vaughn walks in to the bar, the men’s suddenly find Vaughn suspicious as soon as they see him.
This racism is a pure example of Australia and its different perspectives. Australia is a place of6 great diversity and contrast, the poems Alcohol by Peter Goldsworthy, Metho Drinker by Judith Wright and My Country by Dorothea Mackellar prove this in many ways. They show the great beauty of Australia’s landscape, and explore the different problems of Australian society misusing drugs and alcohol. This is also shown in the movie ‘Beneath Clouds’, directed by Ivan Sen.