Essay on Drifters by Bruce Dawe

1006 Words 5 Pages
Drifters by Bruce Dawe

This poem is about a family that’s always on the move, with no place to settle down for long, hence the poem was titled ‘Drifters’ to describe this family. ‘Drifters’ looks at the members of this family response to frequently change and how it has affected them.

This poem is told in third person narration in a conversational tone.
This gives the feeling as if someone who knows this family is telling the responder the situation of this family. The use of phrases like
‘notice how the oldest girl…’ gives a feeling that the narrator is pointing out to the responder the family members, as if the narrator and the responder are both present at the scene when the family’s moving at the time.

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As well as giving us an idea about how long the family stayed in this home for they berries were also used as a symbol that relate to the
Drifters themselves. When they arrived, ‘She (Tom’s wife) held out her hand bright with berries, the first of the season, and said: “Make a wish, Tom, make a wish.”’ The fresh berries signify fresh hope for the family, especially for the older members of the family who hopes to be able to settle down at last. By the time of they’re leaving, the berries will have become ‘Shrivelled fruits’. The berries have changed and the hope that it once signified will be dried like the berries.

The different family members react differently to the decision to move. The small children wouldn’t be upset by having to move again, in fact they’ll be excited because they’re young and it’s all fun and adventure like to them. Perhaps for a family like this the young children may have been in situations like this many times, maybe for as long as they remember. ‘and the brown kelpie pup dashing about and tripping everyone up,’ gives a very real image of a family moving houses with pets.

The first nine lines of the poem gives the responder a feeling that this is just an ordinary family moving, though ‘and she’ll go out to the vegetable patch and pick up all the green tomatoes from the vines,’ gives the reader a feeling that the decision made to move was made quite abruptly as they can’t
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