Bruce Dawe's Poetry

1458 Words Sep 7th, 2008 6 Pages
Several poems by Bruce Dawe surround the subject of loneliness and oppression, a matter that many people face in today’s society and also a matter that relates to his interests; his fascination with the ‘underdog’ character and how he provides a voice for certain individuals. ‘The Raped Girl’s Father’, ‘The Family Man’ and ‘The Sadness of Madonnas’ are three poems by Bruce Dawe that relate to the themes, portraying realism in how loneliness and oppression affect people in the world.

An example of a poem related to the subject of loneliness and oppression is ‘The Raped Girl’s Father’. The poem is about a girl who had been raped and, as a consequence, is constantly abused by her father. From the title, the poem is centred on the father, who
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For example, ‘the rifle’s eye is blank’ and ‘rumours flower over his absence…’ symbolise how the reason for the family man’s death is ‘blank’ and because of that, his workmates made assumptions as to why he killed himself. Dawe also uses imagery to symbolise the man’s walk away from life and how he kept it to himself; for example, ‘from the table of humdrum cares and dream and walk…over the edge of dark and quietly lie…’ which clearly explains that the man turned away from life. The imagery and symbolism in ‘The Sadness of Madonnas’ is similar; its purpose is to create an image of oppression through the mother and child. For example, ‘the xylophone rib-cage and the wasted music of leg-bones’ and ‘the thousands lying silent in the dirt, the dehydrated children’s skin as tough as leather’ present a powerful picture of the Ethiopian people and how the famine is making them suffer and slowly leading them to their deaths.

The language Dawe uses in ‘The Raped Girl’s Father’, such as metaphors, alliteration and repetition create a dark and powerful atmosphere to the poem. The words used are chosen to reflect the father’s heartless rage and his daughter’s shock during her darkest hours. An example of repetition and alliteration is ‘eaten by the dark…and in that darker dark in which she lay’, which emphasises the ‘hell’ that the girl is experiencing in her dark bedroom and her vulnerability. Metaphors in the poem
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