Archive | May 2016

Summative Entry

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


As a student of art myself, I do feel that creativity is essential when it comes to human experience.  Creativity helps an individual express their thoughts and emotions in many different ways.  It can be used to show an event, retell a story, and even say how one really feels when speaking fails them.

After studying Australian Literature and Art, looking through many poets, stories and artworks reinforces my view.  All pieces have different structures and perspectives – especially when you compare them to each other.  However, that does not mean they are invalid or insignificant just because of this difference.  On the contrary, it is these different forms of creativity that truly paints a fuller picture.

Much like with art, there is no such thing as a “perfect” artwork or a “perfect” method.  Creativity, likewise, does not have a “perfect” way of thinking, nor is there a “way” to be creative.  It is from the self, and it will manifest itself in different ways.  It does not have to be a piece of paper and a pen, nor a canvas and a brush.  It can be a dance like a certain Bobby’s.  It can form from many kinds of different perspectives, and when you piece them together, it is like a jigsaw puzzle.

One’s creativity can really help express one’s true feelings without having to feel afraid.  You can express such words or feelings in whatever way you wish.  Certain pieces such as Bell-Birds by Henry Kendall and artworks like The Golden Splendour in the Bush by W. Lister show that the appreciation for the land and the feelings of vulnerability along with empathy are not restricted to just one side.  That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott and Nigger’s Leap, New England by Judith Wright also used forms of creativity through literature to make sure that the suffering of the Aboriginal people did not go hidden away or buried, along with showing a sense of empathy to their suffering.  With this, creativity can help show others what had occurred, and to remember.  To feel and to empathize.

At the same time, poems like The Cool Green by Les Murray share a cautionary tale of money through a way that is far more fluid and thought-provoking instead of being just a straightforward statement.  Such methods for using creativity also helps one to think and try to look at the big picture instead of just being fed the answer immediately.  To ponder and wonder.

To finish off this final entry, I will conclude simply that creativity is an essential part of human experience.  Without it, we are dull and rigid.  No longer is there a helpful form of expression to those who need something other than words.  And most especially with certain pieces that were studied in Australian Art and Literature, stories and events may have been lost.

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Peer Review #7

Peer Review – Gabrielle Chidiac

“Hello there, Gabby, this was a nice poem – short but precise. The words flowed quite smoothly, and it really captured the nature of the complex yet interesting relationship between money and people. As well as how Murray was warning about how money has the potential to take over a person. I do like how you wrote “some some smart, some dumb, and some with no clue” which highlights that not everyone will fall prey to the temptations of money or greed. Though with this line “But don’t be fooled, it easily disguised” do you perhaps mean “it is easily disguised”?

Regardless, lovely little poem!”

Money On My Mind

The Cool Green

From tutorial, we only looked at one poem, but this poem was quite an interesting one.  Needless to say, it was about the dangers of money and the relationship it has with people.

Several things from the poem stuck out to me.  Particularly how at first I thought money was a catalyst to human greed.  It is a factor that can bring out the worst in people and give nasty results, but it is unaffected.  Or is it? Money is considered attention-seeking in the poem, and there is a questioning line of who is more dominant in the relationship with lines such as “Money too can be starved/but we also die for it then,/so who is the servant?”

The third last and final stanzas are what really captured my interest the most.  For a while, there was a discussion in the tutorial on what the third stanza even meant.

“If I were king, how often
would I come up tails?
Only half the time
really? With all my severed heads?”

By the end, I do just think it is left to individual interpretation.  It can be seen as how like a coin, there are two sides to wealth: those have the money, those who do not.  One suffers while the other lives in luxury.  For others, they see it as something more literal where usually in a game of heads and tails, there is an equal chance to win the game.  But more coins, the ratio for winning changes.

“How did money capture life
away from poetry, ideology, religion?
It didn’t want our souls.”

This final stanza reminded me of a song.  It’s called The Judgement of Corruption and is part of a series of seven songs: each a tale about someone who is corrupted by one of the seven deadly sins.  The song is about the vice of greed.  The song’s tale is of a judge who gets corrupted by his greed and will hand out innocent or guilty verdicts for the right price.  At first, he wanted the money to help his daughter who is in a wheelchair, but his greed and love for money twist him into a horrible individual with no morals.

Personally, the final stanza made me think that as long as you have the money, nobody will care about your ideas, beliefs and whether it’s right or wrong.  Simply because you can buy your way out of the situation, which is exactly what happens in The Judgement of Corruption.  The Cool Green by Les Murray appears to be a cautionary piece highlighting the relationship between people and money.  Who is the one really in control here? Is money truly a catalyst, or is it also affected, too?

To end this entry, I decided to leave some translated lines from The Judgement of Corruption.

“Even if it’s the most atrocious scoundrel,
as long as he pays up, I will gladly spare him.
After all, money makes the mare go.

I couldn’t care less about
their looks, age, ethnicity, or gender.
What’s important is whether or not they have enough money.
That’s all that matters.

Your life is in my hands.
If you wish to be spared, then cough up the coins!

That’s right, your charges are at my discretion,
at the mercy of my judgment of corruption.
If you truly wish to be saved from the swamp of false charges,
then hand over more of that money!

I need money
to cure my daughter’s handicapped legs.
At today’s court, too, where misgivings unfold,
the evildoers snicker while the innocent weep.

That’s right, your charges are at my discretion,
at the mercy of my judgment of corruption.
In order for my own long-cherished wish to come true,
I must continue wielding my gavel of injustice.”

(Translated lines:
– “Akutoku No JAJJIMENTO – Judgment Of Corruption”. 2016. Animelyrics.Com. http://www.animelyrics.com/doujin/mothy/akutokunojudgment.htm.  Anime Globe Productions.  Web.  19 May 2016.

Song:
– Mothy.  “The Judgement Of Corruption.” 2010. Audio Recording.

Image:
– Tomotoshi, Kitano. The Judgement Of Corruption.
http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/theevilliouschronicles/images/6/6a/JoC.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20130614174842)

Peer Review #6

Peer Review – Serena Saliba

“A very nice and formal letter with quite sophisticated language. Yet the way that you wrote the letter to Mr. White and its overall tone really does sound like it could be an actually sent letter expressing admiration to the author. I was quite interested that you mentioned about “Tall Poppy” syndrome. However, I am a little confused on your use of the term in this letter. Tall Poppy syndrome is where someone is attacked or criticised because of their talents and achievements which distinguish them from, or places them above their peers. I do think that the term can definitely have to do with Patrick White, but it is a little unclear why the mention of it is apparent – is it because Australia values education? Is it because of Mr White’s insistence on how the ordinary can be extraordinary?

Either way, it is still a nice read for a letter, and it actually is quite hard to write one, so great job on choosing to write one in the first place!”

Letter to Patrick White

Ordinary and Extraordinary

“But at the same time, I wanted to discover the extraordinary behind the ordinary, the mystery and the poetry which alone could make bearable the lives of such people, and incidentally, my own life since my return.”

Patrick White’s essay titled The Prodigal Son is a more personal recount.  Here, White describes what inspired him to write and ultimately stay in Australia.  Rather than going back to England or even moving to another place like Greece.

The Prodigal Son bears the important message of how the ordinary may be more extraordinary than initially seen.  Unsurprisingly, this would go against the view at the time in England where those with riches seem to be favoured far more.  And because Australia was colonized by England, the views of that society would be transferred over. From White’s essay, he writes this particularly interesting statement of both riches and status being “important” factors so you could be viewed favourably in society:

“In all directions stretched the Great Australian Emptiness, in which the mind is the least of possessions, in which the rich man is the important man, in which the schoolmaster and the journalist rule what intellect roost there is, in which beautiful youths and girls stare at life through blind, blue eyes, in which human teeth fall like autumn leaves, the buttocks of cars grow hourly glassier, food means cake and steak, muscles prevail, and the march of material ugliness does not raise a quiver on the average nerves.”

Noticeably, the last part of the statement on how material ugliness does not elicit a reaction from the nerves of an average person is a standout.  This is to highlight how these citizens were supposed to not at all question these views.  Earlier on in his essay, White had written that the attitudes of English society he once followed without question were an existence that was “distressingly parasitic and lifeless.”  And only had he “began to grow up and think my own thoughts” did he realize this.

His text, Down at the Dump, probably demonstrates this mindset the most.  Primarily with the character of Daise.

Daise is the deceased aunt of Meg, and the sister to Mrs. Hogben.  Daise was considered a strange and scandalous individual in society.  Even her own sister did not seem so fond of her as she seemed more absorbed with herself.  This is demonstrated with the line, “Although it was her sister Daise who had died, Mrs. Hogben was crying for the death which was waiting to carry her off in turn.”  

Through the eyes of Meg, the daughter of Mrs. Hogben, and Daise’s niece, we see how Daise is considered quite different to society.  She was an ordinary woman with extraordinary views and tastes that were different to everyone else’s.  Meg describes Daise’s house in quite flowing and flattering terms and feels at peace with it.

“How the mornings used to sparkle in which Aunt Daise went up and down between the rows, her gown dragging heavy with dew, binding with best the fuzzy flowers by handfuls and handfuls. Auntie’s voice clear as morning.”

 The very scent of it even captivates Meg.

“And the clovey scent rose up in the stale-smelling car, and smote Meg Hogben, out of the reeling heads of flowers, their cold stalks dusted with blue.”

There is a certain kind of view that these middle-class people have that comes across as snobbish and pretentious.  This is in order to try and pretend to be part of the circle of the upper-class residents, yet obviously not being part of it.  At the same time, there is this indifference towards human nature and emotions.  This is particularly seen when Ossie starts crying at Daise’s funeral.  Councillors Hogben and Last mock him for displaying thus ordinary human emotion.

‘Never knew a man cry at a funeral,’ Councillor Hogben complained, very low, although he was ripe enough to burst.

If you could count Ossie as a man, Councillor Last suggested in a couple of noises.

White’s main inspiration from his essay and his own personal experience seems to be to look for the beauty and extraordinary qualities in the ordinary.  Though complex in some patterns, human emotion is considered ordinary since everyone experiences it.  Ossie’s involvement and Daise being more expressive is thus a stark contrast to the pretentious views of society where people are more formal, strict and even rigid with their material wealth and the airs they put up.

White relays that people seem to be so obsessed and interested in the finer things in life, or simply following blindly the opinions of those higher up, that we forget the beauty in the ordinary.  That there is something far more that you are not seeing or experiencing.  All you have to really do is look closely, and perhaps try to think outside the box.

(Image:
Lonely Daisy On Stump. Web. 19 May 2016.  http://vividscreen.info/pic/lonely-daisy-on-stump/18001/)

Peer Review #5

Peer Review – Emily Dick

“To “frame and order of the world” really can be interpreted in many ways, and I do agree with a piece like The End of the Picnic, the piece is used to maintain a record of what happened. Many people don’t realize that art and poetry can be very powerful tools. They can be used to recount a time or place in history, they can be used to teach lessons, they can be used to spread news or teachings, and can even be used as a form of propaganda if taken in the wrong hands. Art and poetry, along with literature can be quite powerful forms, and it’s great that you mention how a poet’s job is supposed to be truthful to record the events. Though sadly, as I mentioned before, art and poetry if in the wrong hands and with the wrong intentions, can be used as something destructive, even.”

Blog #6

Frame and Order

“The frame and order of the world.”

In order for this to be understood properly, let us split the statement first.

The most important words obviously are the nouns: “frame”, “order”, and “world.”  However, that belies another question.

What exactly is that? What is the frame of the world? What is the order of it?

Looking at the poems “The Orange Tree” by John Shaw Neilson and “End of the Picnic” by Francis Webb can give different meanings and interpretations to that statement.

For instance, “The Orange Tree” is spoken in the first-person perspective where an adult is talking to a little girl.  The subject of matter of their conversation? An orange tree.  At first, it appears to be a harmlessly amusing little conversation with the girl’s childish annoyance at the adult’s mature speculations.  But looking closer at the poem, there is an underlying tone that contrasts the innocence of youth to that of adulthood’s weary experience.

Noticeably, as the conversation keeps on going, the adult makes a bunch of speculations that can only be discovered by experience.  Yet when you look at the events he speaks in order, it can be interpreted as chronological in the love life of an adult.

  • “Is it, I said, of east or west?
    The heartbeat of a luminous boy
    Who with his faltering flute confessed
    Only the edges of his joy?”

The first stanza can be seen as an introduction to the protagonist (the adult persona) who is cheerful and innocent as a boy.  Seeing the first love, there is a beat of his heart, and feeling something so beautiful, he expresses himself with his flute: playing a happy tune which confesses this lovely feeling.

  • “Was he, I said, borne to the blue
    In a mad escapade of Spring
    Ere he could make a fond adieu
    To his love in the blossoming?

Spring is usually a season associated with growth, fruition and was also usually linked to the mating season.  Perhaps due to circumstances, either he or the one he loves must leave, which would force him to say a “fond adieu.”  Either that or he must say goodbye to these feelings that he has since he was “borne to the blue” during “a mad escapade of Spring.”  Blue is usually a colour associated with calmness, but also sadness.

  • “Does he, I said, so fear the Spring
    Ere the white sap too far can climb?
    See in the full gold evening
    All happenings of the olden time?

This one was admittedly harder to interpret, but I took it as him expressing his fear at laying his feelings bare.  Hence, why he would “fear the Spring.”  Because once he does this, there is a risk of no longer going back to the way things were with this person, it seems.

  • “Is he so goaded by the green?
    Does the compulsion of the dew
    Make him unknowable but keen,
    Asking with beauty of the blue?”

He becomes more determined to express his feelings to this person.  “Goaded by the green” would be associated with Spring, and Spring, I assumed, was to do with being twitterpated.  “Make him unknowable but keen” was a line I initially thought could mean that he has these feelings that aren’t known, but he’s keen to express them.  But after some thought, it could also be interpreted that he has these feelings that are keen, but he would rather not say them in risk of possibly losing a relationship.

  • “Is it, I said, a waste of love
    Imperishably old in pain,
    Moving as an affrighted dove
    Under the sunlight or the rain?”

Continuing from the previous stanza, I do think now that perhaps he chose to not tell his feelings.  Hence, why he calls it “a waste of love.”  “Imperishably old in pain” would refer to the notion of unrequited love, which is a concept that would date back thousands of years ago.  An ageless concept that continues.  “Under the sunlight and rain?”  Having these feelings will either make or break him.

  • “Is it a fluttering heart that gave
    Too willingly and was reviled?
    Is it the stammering at a grave,
    The last word of a little child?

Sadly, it seems things have not worked in favour with the protagonist.  Though the last two lines can be taken quite literally as someone died and the child is paying respects, if it were to be taken in the concept of a man’s love life, it can be interpreted as something else.  That he is no longer a child, which is why a little child would give “the last word” and be the one who’s at a grave stammering.  It is a goodbye to the innocence of a child as the boy is now a man.

Still, the very different perspectives of the little girl and the man can be seen as maintaining the frame and order of the world.  Why? Because both perspectives are legitimate, and they balance each other.

From this analysis, the adult’s experience is highly contrasted with the little girl’s who is far more simplistic and straightforward.  She is to the point, and, because she is a child, she has that simplicity and innocent perspective that adults lack or had to give up.  It is also another point that she focuses on the tree itself whereas the man’s recount involve experiences that happen at the tree.

The maturity and experience of adulthood are needed to ground the radical imaginations youth can have, yet at the same time, this creativity that youth has is needed to lighten up and remind adulthood of the innocence and simplicity of one’s own surroundings and the world.  They may contrast, but they are also used to balance and bring out the best of each other.

Without the simplicity and straightforward innocence of youth, then adulthood would be wistful and may even become cynical due to experience.  Or perhaps even become arrogant.  Likewise, if adulthood is gone, the lack of experience can also cause arrogance in youth, and there is no guiding hand.  Frame and order in the world are thus maintained with the balance between youth and maturity.