Enter without So Much as Knocking Commentary

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Bruce Dawe is a contemporary Australian poet who in interviews has stated that he is very interested in placing ordinary things alongside extraordinary things. As an example, in one of his poems he places the word, cornflakes, alongside a serious matter of death. Strategically, Dawe chose the medium of poetry within which to write as it is the best medium through which to convey emotions, feelings, and thoughts. Poetry, by definition, employs many devices such as rhythm and rhymes which apart from diction; give readers a feel for what the poem is all about.

This poem “Enter without So Much as Knocking” is structured with 9 stanzas with one epigraph on top. Each stanza consist different number of lines, except for last two stanzas having a single line. There is no rhyming scheme throughout the whole poem. Bruce Dawe structured out this poem with each stanza representing each stages of human life; starting with birth, toddler, young boy, teenager, adult, car accident and death.

There are differences between the subject and the theme of the poem. In the poem ‘Enter Without So Much as Knocking’, Bruce Dawe brings up the subject of life throughout the poem. However, his theme is different to the subject. Throughout this poem, Dawe brings up themes such as; the human condition, no significances of life and death and adult’s ignorance and their selfishness. Dawe criticises the life of Australians and how they live under the sign which tells them to do and not to do and also they live the life like everyone else, hence nobody cares about life and death.

Starting with the title of the poem, the title “Enter without So Much as Knocking” has two meanings. This title literary means that life of human are just thrown into the world without any explanation of how to survive the world. Another meaning of this title is that, as you are entering without knocking, you are not gaining any attention as you are entering.

This poem starts off with the quote “Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et inpulverm reverteris” which could be translated into “remember, man that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return”. Bruce Dawe specifically chose to write this quote in Latin because he wants readers to pay attention in the writing and the choices of words he used to express his theme of human condition, where life is essentially meaningless as we are dust and we will return to dust.

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In the 1st stanza, as it is about the birth, Dawe uses the repetition of the onomatopoeic “blink” to illustrate the actions taken by the people watching the baby. He capitalises the whole phrase “HOSPITAL SLIENCE”, in which to emphasize the importance of the settings and the mood. Dawe mention about “Bobby Dazzler on Channel 7” symbolises typical Australian household. The line spoken by Bobby Dazzler, “all you lucky people”, is ironic and also contains imagery. This is ironic in a way as people who do not rely on game shows are lucky not the ones who are obsessed with it. ...

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