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Recurring Themes and Concerns in Prose and Poetry that Reshaped the Character of Australia

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Introduction

Recurring Themes and Concerns that Reshaped the Character of Australia From the earlier ballads and poems written in the 19th Century through to the novels of the early 20th Century there has been a change in the focus, attitude and images that these works have presented. This essay will examine some examples of these writings and determine if there are any common recurring themes and concerns within these works, by comparing how the content reflects the lifestyle of Australians. Themes such a masculinity, feminism, antiauthoritarianism and mateship are typically found in these writings, some in isolation and others a combination woven together as a comparison of ideas. This essay will view a collection of themes and concerns of the writers, showing how mateship and the oppression of women they can be related to gender and national culture. Current affairs provided earlier poets a solid base from which to build their ballads and poems. Taken from life as seen through the eyes of the writer, these works are not an historic record but rather a method of earning a living as an entertainer. Writers used news and social lifestyle as content with artistic licence to tell a story. To determine the themes of these articles, knowledge of the history can explain the use of the subject or content. With a male majority population, most of the authors were men, and the subjects they chose targeted a masculine audience. ...read more.

Middle

Women who left their husbands were destitute as single mothers or forced to remarry where possible. In Stones novel 'Jonah' Mrs Yabsley a single mother attempts many times to marry her daughter Ada to Jonah the father of her baby, so Ada would have some security (Stone 1911, p13). Jonah, like most men traditionally bonded to their mates rather then their women, preferring to be with the Push living on the street (Stone 1911, p30-31). Feminist historians find in women's private letters how women contributed to the domestication of men. Marilyn Lake (Historical Studies 1986) points out that the history of women could not exclude men therefore men's history should not exclude woman. The contest between men and women was in essence a contest to control the national culture through domestication (Lake 1986 p116). This theme of female suffering caused by male domination is commonly found without much change over the century. Inequality of the sexes was accepted, and this theme is cited in many writings of the time. Inequality affected the single women financially in the both the bush and the city as seen in Jonah (Stone 1911) where women struggled to survive as men roamed the streets in groups of larrikins. Larrikins of the early 20th century were an extension of the rebellious nature that had roots back to the convicts. Convicts dreamed of joining the bushrangers such as 'Jim Jones at Botany Bay' and 'Bold Jack Donahoe'. ...read more.

Conclusion

The themes of masculinity, feminism, and anti-authoritarianism are found in the battles of Eureka and the awkward relationship of men and women, but the essence of mateship is the building block of a good Australian yarn and the foundation of a nation. Reference List Grant, D. Newman, J. & Seal, G (eds), An Anthology of Australian Verse and Song Black Swan Press, 1993 cited in Anthology LCS12, 2009, 'Writing the Nation: Australian Literature to 1950', Curtin University of Technology, Perth. Franklin, M., (1901), My Brilliant Career, edited by Bruce K. Martin 2008, Broadview Editions, Canada. Lake, Marilyn 'The Politics of Respectability: Identifying the Masculinist Context', Historical Studies, Vol. 22, No86 April 1986, pp 116-131. Lawson, Henry 'Captain of the Push' pp 61 - 63 in Anthology, LCS12 Writing the Nation: Australian Literature to 1950 2009 Curtin University of Technology, Perth. Glynn, Sean 1975, 'Towards an Urban Interpretation of Australian History', Urbanisation in Australian History, 1788 - 1900, (2nd edn), Thomas Nelson, Melbourne, Ch. 4, pp 61-80. Reader LCS12 2009, cited http://lms.curtin.edu.au/courses/1/300691-Ux-061-01-OSP- x2/content/_986031_1/dir_LCS12_uploading_june.zip/COURSE_4738243_M/my_files/Timetable/timetable.htm on 2 January 2010. Stone, Louis Jonah, (1911) 2003. Richmond Ventures Pty Limited, Griffin Press, Adelaide, South Australia. Walter, James 'Defining Australia' in Whitlock, Gillian and Carter, David (eds) 1992 Images of Australia: An Introductory Reader in Australian Studies, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, pp 7-22. Wilde, William H. Hooton, Joy and Andrews, Barry 1994, The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature, (second edition) Oxford University Press, Melbourne. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 LCS12 SP4 Dan Crowley page Assignment 2 ...read more.

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