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Debate about the rightful ownership of Australian land through the comparison of

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English - Year 11 Assessment 4, Question 2 By Jeremy O'Neill In the Australian culture, there have been many debates about the rightful ownership of Australian land and about whether the Aborigines have the right to retain the land taken from them. Further more, indigenous writers have expressed anger and protest towards the loss of their culture to white civilization. Peter Garrett and Oodgeroo Noonuccal are two artists who seek to raise the issues of the native land title and the oppression of Australian Aborigines. "Civilization" by Oodgeroo Noonuccal is a poem, which comments on the effects of white civilization on Aboriginal people and "Beds are Burning" by Peter Garrett comments on the issue of native land title. Throughout the two texts, various poetic techniques such as imagery, irony, tone and point of view, as well as poetic form are used to express deeply held views about the values and issues raised. Both texts, "Civilization" and "Beds are Burning" reflect anger and protest towards the various injustices suffered by the Aboriginal culture since the colonial invasion in 1788. The title of the song "Beds are Burning" suggests things about the song itself and what it means. "Bed is burning" comes from a proverb, "lying in a burning bed",. ...read more.


The lyricist constructs the image of people (white Australians) dancing during a heavy crisis. This is clearly expressing the lyricist's anger towards the people who do not care about native title and are keen to continue to selfishly live their lives on "stolen land". The chorus also includes the image of people sleeping in burning beds to reinforce his view that white Australians are apathetic and indifferent to the cause of indigenous Australians who want the return of their land. The lyricist asks these two rhetorical questions with urgency for the chorus is the most heightened and intense point of the song. The title of the poem "Civilization" by Oodgeroo Noonuccal is an ironic poem about the civilization of Australia since colonization. The word civilization usually has positive connotations. Westerners use it to mean the systems and organizations which operate in their society, and it is often used in a celebratory way. It also points to a modern world full of better ways of doing things. However, in Noonuccal's poem, it is used in an ironic way to signify all the harm and danger inflicted on Aboriginal people violently introduced to "white man's ways". When used by Noonuccal, the word civilization takes on the meaning of a system or a way of living capable of causing great unhappiness to those living within it. ...read more.


The reader understands that she, and the people she stands for, reject white man's ways and that they also believe that these ways caused them great damage and despair. The last two lines are expressed in a more gentle, but still bitter tone. The reader as a "white man" is advised to take a clear look their culture. But remember, white man, if live is for happiness, You too, surely, have much to change. The persona clearly states that white people are caught up in their money, jobs and "looking good" or presenting well, but this does not equate with happiness. This is stated when the persona says, "You too surely have much to change" The reader is left with a strong impression that they could incorporate some of the ideas and values of the Aboriginal culture to better their own way of life. "Civilization" by Oodgeroo Noonuccal and "Beds are Burning" by Peter Garrett both powerfully raise cultural issues regarding the injustices endured by the Aborigines since colonization in 1788. The texts use different types of poetic techniques, some of which are; irony, tone, imagery and point of view. These are needed to draw the reader into the texts and to help them to sympathize with the Aborigines whose land was taken from them and who endure the oppression of living in a culture, whose beliefs and values, the do not share. ...read more.

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