Bruce Dawe - Essay
Bruce Dawe, one of the finest literary poets, embraces his renowned criticism of Australia’s increasingly consumer-driven society and values. His poems, “Americanized” and “Enter Without So Much as Knocking” are prime examples of this and they are both greatly satirical of consumerism and Australian consumerist society.
“Americanized” is a darkly satirical reflection on the forceful control of America’s consumerist society and values over younger, developing nations. This poem is written in a predominantly bitter and ironic tone. The title, itself, is ironic in the way that Americanised is spelt the American way; with a z (Americanized).
In this poem, Bruce Daw uses an ...view middle of the document...
This idea is linked with America, from listing the stereotypical American products of “chewing gun, hot dogs, electronic brains”. One would believe that a child wished for the love and support, however we see the child receiving none of this from the mother and she conceives this replacement of love with material items. Bruce Daw portrays this perspective as to be frightening and disturbing through the suggestion of the rhetorical question “what child of simple origins could want more?”
Form the ninth stanza, the mood of the poem dramatically changes as Bruce Daw paints a scene as “darkness” descends on the child playing alone with the approaching of “those formidable footsteps” an air of suspension created as “ the door-knob turns… her figure looms…her large hands hold him fast”. Having America taking control, the developing nations find themselves ironically trapped in a “velvet room” of protection. It is at this point repetition and dramatically cynical punch-lines are used to conclude the poem as the young nations realises that “she loves him… and the frightening fact sinks in”. Also, the fact that the “motherhood” had once promised ‘beneficence’ now holds them powerless and unable to achieve the freedom and emotional fulfilment that they strived for, and successfully installing in the reader, a sense of fear in regards to the power consumerism, and its biggest support, America, holds.
“Enter Without So Much as Knocking” provides us with an insight into Australian consumer society, a nation that was ‘mothered’ by America, much like the child of “Americanized”. The newborn is welcomed to the world, even before the voice of his own mother is heard, the voice of superficiality in the form of ‘Bobby Dazzler’, “hello, hello, hello all you lucky people”. After this, an immediate change in tone by the narrator is followed, as to how lucky the boy really is, as “it didn't mean a thing to him then”. From that point on, the child has “a year or two to… get acquainted with the set-up” which features typical stereotypes of Australia, such as “one economy-size Mum” and a list of other advertising slogans, as if life has become a product “straight off the Junior Department rack” waiting to be sold.
In the fourth stanza, the pace of the poem drops with the use of ‘however’ and the first display of emotion is “enjoyed” being able to see “a pure unadulterated fringe of sky”. The child is proved innocent, as he sees the “beyond the fifty-foot screen where giant faces forever snarled screamed or make incomprehensible and monstrous love” which is symbolic of the shallow face of society, and the child...