Bruce Dawe analysis

7 July 2016

Dawe shows valuable insights in his poem ‘Homo Suburbiensis’. One of the valuable insights he makes is that the ordinary, everyday man has value. For example, in the last stanza Dawe explains the man to be “offering up instead/Not much but as much as any man can offer/ – time, pain, love, hate, age, war, death, laughter, fever.” Dawe draws upon the religious connotations of the term “offering” to show the man’s contribution is as valuable as religious sacrifice.

Dawe, furthermore, lists the contributions of the ordinary man, juxtaposing terms with positive connotations such as “love”, with terms that have negative connotations Dawe attempts to illustrate that everything the man has to offer in life is valuable – the good, the bad and the mundane. Through his use of a variety of poetic techniques, Dawe conveys a valuable insight that the everyday an has value.

In his poem, ‘And A Good Friday Was Had By All’ Dawe provides a valuable insight: the death of Christ is still relevant today.

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Dawe refers to the crucified Christ as having “arms spread/so it seemed/over the whole damned creation”. 3In this example, Dawe uses vivid imagery of Christ on the cross with arms “spread” to encourage his audience to picture Jesus on the cross. Dawe’s use of the anachronistic idea that Jesus’ arms are spread for the “whole damned creation” indicates that Christ’s death has relevance or all people, not just the people present in that moment in history.

A valuable insight highlighted in the poem ‘Homo Suburbiensis’ is his respect for the ordinary man. The opening line “one constant in a world of variables” creates importance towards the ordinary man. A metaphor is used to bring greater significance to the man, as he is compared to the world and stated as ‘One constant’ thus showing the responders the importance of this man, and Dawe’s thoughts about the ordinary man.

Dawe’s respect towards the ordinary man is show again in the last line “Not much but as much as a man can offer time, pain, love, hate, age, war, death, laughter, fever”. The irony of ‘Not much’ but a long list of everything the man can offer shows that this man does have importance; it also creates a greater meaning of the man by showing that he is actually worth a lot more then expected. The poetic techniques demonstrate the valuable insights of the poem Homo Suburbiensis.

Throughout the poem ‘and a Good Friday was had by all’ Dawe expresses many poetic techniques to portray valuable insights. Decease and suffering is highlighted in the second stanza through the line “not looking on the downswing trying hard not to hear over the women’s wailing the bones give way the iron shocking the dumb wood”. Personification is used to exaggerate the pain Jesus is experiencing, as even the wood feels the pain of this dehumanizing act; encouraging the responder to feel the pain that Jesus is going through.

This is effective to a wide variety of people as it really connects to the responder as to what Jesus was going through. Guilt and regret is also shown throughout the poem. “and a Blind man in tears” an idiom is used to explain the thoughts and regrets of the solider as he is stated ‘a blind man in tears’ . The idiom relates to the audience as it conveys the soldiers true emotion towards his despiteful act. Bruce Dawe’s Poem ‘a good Friday was had by all’ clearly demonstrates the suffering, guilt and regret plus many more Valuable insights through the use of poetic techniques such as personification and an idiom.

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