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New Zealand poems. For EACH of the texts, analyse how the writer used symbols to develop important ideas. Texts: House and land, by Allen Curnow; Sad Joke on a Marae, by Apirana Taylor

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Introduction

Question: For EACH of the texts, analyse how the writer used symbols to develop important ideas. Texts: ?House and land?, by Allen Curnow; ?Sad Joke on a Marae?, by Apirana Taylor Allen Curnow?s 1941 poem ?House and land? and Apirana Taylor?s 1979 poem ?Sad Joke on a Marae? both portray the idea of displacement. Each poet uses a symbol to develop this idea. ?House and land?, Curnow uses a dog as a symbol for the main character, Miss Wilson. Miss Wilson is a woman of 80 who lives alone on a farm in North Canterbury. Outside her house is a dog, which ?trailed its chain / From the privy as far as the fowl house / And back to the privy again?. ...read more.

Middle

The dog represents this idea of being ?caught between? places. He is trapped between the privy and the fowl house, and simply wanders between the two. In ?Sad Joke on a Marae?, Taylor uses the tekoteko to symbolise Maori culture. The poem deals with Tu, a young Maori man, when faced with the task of speaking at a marae, realises that ?Tihei mauriora? are the only Maori words he knows. This is embarrassing for him, as all around him are carvings which remind him of great Maori warriors of the past: ?Kupe Paikea Te Kooti / Rewi and Te Rauparaha?. We then read that the tekoteko ? the wooden carving attached to the top of the meeting house ? ?ripped his tongue from his mouth / and threw it at my feet?. ...read more.

Conclusion

Miss Wilson does not feel at home because she wants to be back in England, where her ancestors came from. Tu does not feel at home at the marae, because he has been brought up in the city, far away from his ancestral home. By comparing Miss Wilson to the tied up dog, and by contrasting Tu with the proud tekoteko, Curnow and Taylor help us to realise how displaced each of these characters is. In this way, they each develop the theme of displacement. On the surface, an 80 year old Pakeha woman living in North Canterbury in the 1940s, and a young Maori man living in the city in the 1970s, would not have very much in common. Through their use of symbols, Curnow and Taylor enable us to view one way in which the two characters are very alike: they both suffer from a sense of displacement. ...read more.

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