Not so Good Earth Analysis

1450 Words Nov 5th, 2012 6 Pages
The Not So Good Earth

For a while there we had 25-inch Chinese peasant families famishing in comfort on the 25-inch screen and even Uncle Billy whose eyesight's going fast by hunching up real close to the convex glass could just about make them out--the riot scene in the capital city for example he saw that better than anything, using the contrast knob to bring them up dark--all those screaming faces and bodies going under the horses' hooves--he did a terrific job on that bit, not so successful though on the quieter parts where they're just starving away digging for roots in the not-so-good earth cooking up a mess of old clay and coming out with all those Confucian analects to everybody's considerable satisfaction
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Often the two become confused: lives and human tragedy are considered a product, something that will engender interest and thereby generate revenue. The greater the suffering, the more successful the program and the greater market share.

Dawe is concerned that we have become desensitised to human suffering because it is presented to us as entertainment: a product rather than an issue. The irony is that we have become emotionally distanced from reality even though the world enters our homes via television. The title and the film description are references to 'The Good Earth'' based on a novel by Pearl Buck. Set during the Japanese advance on China during the late 1930s, it contains ideas that the land sustains life and that suffering is rewarded. This poem describes a family viewing the film, complete with the advertisements, and their reaction (or rather, lack of) to it. They never actually see the end as the father trips over the cord in the darkened room.

It is a very satirical poem that creates black humour. Through the characters' complete insensitivity and absence of either empathy or sympathy, Dawe expresses amazement at the complacency of people in our society. There is continual tension between the humour and the seriousness of what is described. For instance, Uncle Billy's sight problems are comical but Dawe's biting satire is evident by its juxtaposition to the riot scene's
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