Summative Entry

What insights has your study of Australian Literature and Art given you into the importance of creativity as part of human experience?

This was the focus of this semester’s work in Australian Literature and my studies this semester have given me an insight into the history that Australia has undergone over the past couple of centuries, beginning with the Indigenous Australians and ending with the views of contemporary Australian authors and poets. This wide scope of literature has given me an understanding into how Australia has changed and evolved overtime and has also given me the unique opportunity to experience this through a range of perspectives.

Kim Scott’s novel, That Deadman Dance, and Australian poets, like Judith Wright and Lisa Bellear, have given me a window into what it was like for the Indigenous Australians and the colonial settlers when the Europeans first arrived in Australia. These authors gave an incredible insight into the amazing connection that the Indigenous people shared with the land and how they treated it as if it were sacred, while the European settlers came barging in and claiming it as their own, seeing it only for their own utilitarian uses. I also saw through Judith Wright and Lisa Bellear the rocky relationship between the settlers and the Indigenous people and how keenly both sides felt this relationship and how it affected them both – these works gave off a sense of a loss of identity and a sense of isolation, especially for the children and young people involved.

The artworks seen at the Art Gallery of NSW also showed a broad range of perspectives on the land. The paintings at the Gallery came from various times in history and depicted many aspects of the land – a lot of these paintings showed the utilitarian side of the land, similar to what was reflected in the works previously mentioned – but many also portrayed the beauty and majesty of the land, very ably demonstrating the singular connection between the land and the Indigenous people and looking at these incredible paintings, it was so easy to understand how protective they were of their land because of the vast beauty of it.

Later works of Australian authors and poets reflected the changing times and attitudes that were experienced as history progressed. Most recently, I read and studied Les Murray’s poem “The Cool Green”, which was deeply associated with money. I found it astonishing how humans could’ve changed so much over the span of a couple of centuries. The utilitarian interest in the land is still there, yes, but the initial greediness with which we approached the land is still very much there and has expanded into other aspects of life; for instance, our everyday life. We just want more and more now, living simply like the Indigenous Australians did wasn’t enough and so, once we exploited the land, we moved on to exploit our own culture and almost corrupt ourselves through greed and let money consume us, as Les Murray’s poem so aptly describes.

The importance of creativity as part of human experience is incredible and my studies have shown me this over the past semester. Creativity allows us to write down and share our thoughts and emotions in a unique way and these blogs and writings have enabled me to do so and the authors’ and poets’ creativity has allowed me to see Australian literature, art and history in a new and very interesting light. It has also shown me human experiences throughout time, starting with the initial rocky relationship between the white European settlers and the Indigenous Australians, then ending with the contemporary perspectives of modern Australians, showing me how much experiences can change and affect us in different ways.

LINKS TO MY BLOGS:

Best Creative Blog: https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/category/oz-lit/best-creative-blog/

Best Critical Blog: https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/category/oz-lit/best-critical-blog/

Peer Reviews: https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/category/oz-lit/peer-reviews/

Summative Entry: https://felicitymcmanus.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/summative-entry/

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8th Blog

TASK: Write a letter to either Judith Beveridge, Les Murray or David Malouf telling them what you have found of greatest interest in their writing today.

Dear Mr. Murray,

I find your poem “The Cool Green” really fascinating and I find your description of money to be quite accurate. I like how you suggest that we humans serve money, instead of money serving us, even though we require money for everyday life – we need money but money doesn’t need us. I really like the line “but money is never seen nude”. I think this is really profound and I agree – money is always transformed into something else (credit cards, material things, etc.) and we don’t really see money in its most basic form. It sort of ties into the second-last stanza, “Our waking dreams feature money everywhere but in our sleeping dreams it is strange and rare”. This also says that we are being constantly bombarded with images of money during the day when we’re awake and it’s always right there in front of us, so we’re forced to think about it, but when we’re asleep, we don’t dream about it at all. The last stanza is also quite thought-provoking, when it mentions that money “didn’t want our souls” – and yet, it almost has taken our souls and made us so obsessed with it – and that it also captured “life away from poetry, ideology and religion” – all the things that really matter and what make us human and give us feelings and emotions. These things have been taken away from us because of money and the effects it has had on us overtime.

I think you have written an incredible poem about money and its effects on humankind. You have described it in a highly unique way that is admirable and completely spot on in what you say about it – how money has transformed us and made us into greedy people. obsessed with money and we’ve forgotten about the finer, more important things in life.

Regards,

Felicity McManus

Australian money

Image from: https://www.123rf.com/photo_23411189_stack-of-australian-dollar.html

6th Peer Review

Natasha Prudnicki – https://nprudnicki97.wordpress.com/2016/05/14/the-secret-affairs-of-meg-and-lummy/

“Hi Natasha,
I really like your first paragraph, concerning what Meg may be going through at this time with her Aunt Daise’s funeral and how she may be acting like her aunt to keep her memory alive and how her mother isn’t helping. I like how you expanded on this behaviour in the second paragraph, with regard to Lummy. The tone of this letter is friendly and sympathetic, yet cautionary, which I think is very fitting with the content of the letter. What a great blog, well done!! Just something minor though: watch at the very end of the first paragraph, there’s a lowercase “i” where there should be an uppercase “I”:)

7th Blog

TASK: Write a letter to Patrick White telling him what you think of any one of the texts you have read this week.

Dear Mr. White,

I’m writing to you on your book, Down at the Dump, published in 1975. I was really intrigued by the characters of Meg, Aunt Daise and Mrs. Myrtle Hogben and the dynamics and the characteristics of each of these three females. The comparison between the two sisters is interesting, as Myrtle is very prim and proper, who gives off a sense of coldness and selfishness – as seen when she sends her daughter Meg out to cover the plastic creatures in the garden, with little thought as to her daughter’s health – and behaves in a melodramatic way, as seen at Daise’s funeral; while Daise is more free-spirited and whimsical, with little regard as to how others perceive her, as is evidenced by her house. It was also interesting to see Daise’s interactions with others before she died, namely Ossie, and how Daise was regarded as an outcast because of this kind of behaviour. This is yet another intriguing parallel between the two sisters, as Myrtle is a councillor’s wife – an esteemed position – and Daise is regarded as an outsider, quite different from her sister. It’s also interesting to note how these characters’ behaviour have affected Meg’s own behaviour as she grew up, and her activities with Lummy at the dump. I also found it interesting as to how society regarded Daise, as a “loose woman” and how that stereotype made it easier for society to dismiss her and not think much of her, as she was probably regarded as strange and a bit odd, especially with regard to her house’s appearance.

You have written a highly intriguing book and I commend you for writing about such interesting concepts, making it so interesting to analyse what you’ve written about.

 

5th Peer Review

Riley Powers – https://rileypowers1.wordpress.com/2016/05/06/week-8-blog-6/comment-page-1/#comment-18

“Hey Riley
I really like your discussion on Mary Gilmore and Judith Wright and how they were the catalyst for change and women’s rights in the 20th century – I think this is a really great point:) And I think your discussion on the differing perspectives in “The Orange Tree” symbolizing the polarizing perspectives between Indigenous and white culture is also a really interesting point – I didn’t think of it when I read the poem and think it’s another good point. This is a really good blog, well done!”

 

6th Blog

TASK: Write a short creative piece of poetry or prose that reflects your own feelings about an event, such as the Appin Massacre.

It was in the newspapers that I first heard about the Appin Massacre. I had read about what had happened and the papers rustled and crinkled in my hands as I scrunched them up in anger and hate. I felt all the blood rush to my head as I scrunched up the paper in my hands so tight because I just couldn’t believe what I was reading. I felt my cheeks heat up and I felt as if my ears had steam coming out of my ears. I looked down at my tightly-clenched hands and saw they were as white as snow and could also feel my nails starting to dig into my skin, as if they were starting to make marks. I could also feel a strange feeling inside, twisting my heart and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what this unknown feeling was. Then the light bulb came on – it was disgust. It was disbelief. It was disgust to my own race, my people, it was disbelief that I couldn’t believe that it had happened, that one human had ordered other humans to execute a whole other bunch of humans. I don’t think  had ever felt these feelings towards anyone ever before and this execution was like a huge slap in the face, as I read about just how much damage could be done to human beings by other human beings – by human nature.