Australian Poetry: An Analysis of Bruce Dawe's Poem, Life-Cycle Essay

Australian Poetry: An Analysis of Bruce Dawe's Poem, Life-Cycle Essay

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Bruce Dawe is considered to be one of Australia’s most influential poets of the 20th century. Dawe’s poems capture Australian life in numerous ways, whether it is our passion for AFL in Life-Cycle or our reckless nature towards war as in Homecoming. Dawe creates very complicated poems reflecting the author’s context relevant to the time period, your context is based upon your reading of the poem, where you may gather different meanings, to that of the original intent, hidden within the text.

Life-Cycle:
Written in the 1960’s this poem is one of the most famous of Dawe’s collection. Written to reflect Australia’s passion for its national sport it creates analogies with that of the catholic religion. This fact may be taken in a number of ways, is it to show the severity of our obsession or is it more in the sense of a religious love poem? There are many analogies throughout the poem referencing specific readings within the bible and catholic traditions or sacraments. The likeness between religion and AFL can be used to identify how sport is like a religion to many individuals within Australia and in a sense is a very appropriate choice. ‘…and behold their team going up the ladder to heaven’ . This line within the poem makes reference to the bible story Jacob’s Dream, in the dream Jacob see’s a ladder leading up to heaven, to the kingdom of God and each ladder wrung is marked with a special task Jacob must complete in order to ascend the Lord. In relation to AFL the ladder clearly indicates the placement ladder as to which team is the best and with reference to ‘each wrung is marked with a special task that Jacob must complete’, the footy teams must win against rivals to ascend into heaven which is quite obviously the Grand ...


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...ng the poem Life-cycle I came to the understanding that the overall theme of the poem is to describe the passionate Australian culture of sport. The analogies used by Dawe about religion identify the fact that sport is like a religion to many individuals within the country, and as religion is seen as a main concept of life the reader can really grasp Dawe’s message. The relevance of the title, the religious analogies and references to other famous texts give a strong sense of intertexuality and provide many complicated meanings behind simple verses. I thoroughly enjoyed this poem and think it is a very correct interpretation of Australian culture, Dawe’s analogies had me thinking and every line of the poem was deeply interesting. The time and authors context provided extra relevance towards my understanding and gave support to my final interpretation of Dawe’s poem.

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