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Essay on Drifters by Bruce Dawe

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Drifters by Bruce Dawe

This poem is about a family that’s always on the move, with no place
to settle down for long, hence the poem was titled ‘Drifters’ to
describe this family. ‘Drifters’ looks at the members of this family
response to frequently change and how it has affected them.

This poem is told in third person narration in a conversational tone.
This gives the feeling as if someone who knows this family is telling
the responder the situation of this family. The use of phrases like
‘notice how the oldest girl…’ gives a feeling that the narrator is
pointing out to the responder the family members, as if the narrator
and the responder are both present at the scene when the family’s
moving at the time.

The blackberries were used as an indicator of time, showing us how
long the family has stayed in this place for, and the changes of the
blackberries from when they had first arrived to when they were
leaving also used as a symbol to create mood of sadness and the lost
of hope.

We know from several lines of the poem that the family only stayed at
the house that they’ll soon be leaving for a very short while. From
the lines:

‘and she’ll go out to the vegetable patch and pick up all the green
tomatoes from the vines,’ – The green tomatoes tell us that the tomato
plant has not been planted long, not long enough to produce ripe
fruits by the time they’re going to leave.

‘And the first thing she’ll put on the trailer will be the
bottling-set she never unpacked from Grovedale,’ – Again this tells us
that they only stayed for a short time for they didn’t get the chance
to use the bottling-set yet.

On their arrival the berries were the ‘first of the season’ but by the
time when they drove past t...


... middle of paper ...


...es cause them problems because having to move
houses so often means that they’ll have to spend so much time adapting
to a new environment. Once they ‘re almost settled, they need to move
off to a new environment again and they’ll have to adapt to that new
environment. The green tomatoes on the vines is a symbol that
represents that, they planted the tomato plant, and they were so close
to getting ripe tomatoes from the vines but since they have to move
again, they’re not going to get a chance to get the fruit. This could
be the same for other aspects of their lives, making new friends could
be an example. They may have just started to become friendly with the
people of their neighbourhood, but soon they’ll have to move again.
The family is not going to get enough time to enjoy their newly
adapted environment because soon they’ll have to adapt to a new one.


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