Summative Blog

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


This semester with the subject of Australian Literature, I have furthered my understanding of the importance of the arts and how it can express, explore and argue certain issues and concepts within Australian society. By been taught the works of Judith Wright, Oodgeroo Noonuccal and others; I have been able to develop a new understanding and appreciation of the Indigenous culture and the hardships that they have been faced with over the last two centuries. In particular, with the novel That “Deadman’s Dance” by Kim Scott, it was extremely insightful as we were able to witness the same experience from two very differing perspectives, one being the white Australians and the other the Indigenous. By having the two views alternating throughout the whole novel, it allowed for me to gain a better understanding of the events that did occur in Western Australian in the early settlement and made me feel a sense of shame due to the way the early settlers treated the Indigenous and that there was the potential for both cultures to be able to live among each other in harmony as seen through the character of Doctor Cross. I believe that Doctor Cross was symbolic of the bridge between both cultures but after he dies, the ties connecting the two cultures was destroyed and this was the start of the deterioration of the Indigenous culture because white settlers became materialistic and imperialistic. By reading this works along side with other works, I have realised that due to these works being produced myself and many others would have been able to sympathise with the ordeals of the past and gain a better understanding of the events of the early colonisation of Australia, this highlighting that the creativity of these works are important in understanding human nature.


This unit has made me very aware of how materialistic Australia has been and I feel that it is due to the way that the early settlers wanted Australia to become an artificial England. But further on, in the 19th century Australia begins to gain its own identity as seen with artworks by John Glover but in later works in the 20th century and early 21st artists revert back and show that the Australian society wished to be like England once again. This can be seen in works such as “The expulsion” by Margaret Preston as Preston comments on how self-centered individuals are becoming while there are sub-groups within Australia such as the Indigenous that are still suffering. This shows to me that that art is not only a way for an individual to express themselves but are able to challenge and argue issues with our society. Personally, I now have a new appreciation of art as it allows individual’s to express their own opinions and allow insight into their own perspective of their world, meaning that the creative arts are fundamental in trying to understand human experience.

In all, I have learnt that through the study of Australian Literature and art we are able to view different dimensions of the world and are able to gain a deeper understanding of Australian history and culture as different artists express their own opinions and issues regarding modern day Australian society.


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Week 11, Blog 8

Dear David Malouf,

I have just studied your work, “The Year of the Foxes” and I am in awe of your writing style.  The way that your work flows is just phenomenal as the pace of the poem is easy to understand. The thing that I found most interesting about your poem “The Year of the Foxes” is how it can be interpreted in two different ways, either as a child’s perspective or your perspective of it as an adult back on a childhood memory. As you discuss that during the second world war, the behavior of these women doesn’t seem almost appropriate as in 1944 most Australians were unable to have such glamour such as fox furs. I believe in your work that the women have to be upper class and that they have become extremely self-centered and oblivious to the war as they only care about their image to others as you state in your poem “elbow the rare spoils of ’44; old foxes, rusty red like dried-up wounds, and a GI escort.”; this meaning that the women are only interested in their public image and that they are become materialistic.

One thing I would like to say, is that are the women meant to be portrayed as foxes as I do know that with the fox’s hunting behavior is that they parade their food once they have captured it, now does this mean that the women are doing this with the fur themselves, priding themselves in being able to have this luxury. Therefore, is this meant to be ironic or just symbolic? And earlier with the quote “rusty red like dried-up wounds” does this refer to the women being so self-centered that they are ready to fight off one another to become the best socialite?

Thank you,

Riley Powers

Peer Review 7

Hi Louise,

I really enjoyed reading your blog! The flow of your poem is very good and it was very easy to read. The line “Death surrounding, screams at each ear” heavily impacted me as it reminded me of the poem, “Nigger’s Leap” by Judith Wright and the film “Apocalypse Now” as your poem reminds me of both suffering and war. The only thing I will comment on is just watch your grammar in your opening paragraph as there was a line or two that i had to reread to understand. Apart from that, wonderful blog.

Week 10, Blog 7

Write a letter to Miss Slattery telling her what you think about the decision she made to leave Szabo.

Dear Miss Slattery,

I believe your decision to leave Mr. Szabo Tibor was the morally correct thing to do. One reason that I think you leaving your friend Szabo was important to your well fare as I saw your relationship as it seemed as if there was no emotional attraction between your two, that it was more a physical. Also I feel you used your friend, Szabo, as your escape from the real world and that when you were at his home, you seemed that you neglected the issues of the present time but once you did leave, you yearned to be back with him to return to this ecstasy of ignoring your mundane lifestyle. I do not blame you for wanting to avoid reality but by doing so you caused yourself more grief than before you met Szabo, ultimately you became lonelier than you ever were.

Also I feel that your and Szabo’s differencing opinion of love did cause there to be a rift in your relationship as you fantasied about being in a healthy relationship and being seen by all your friends as the “lucky” woman as you, in my opinion, are very materialistic. Unlike Szabo’s as he states that love is a connection with two souls becoming one. Not to sound harsh but you, Miss Slattery, represent Australian women and you have portrayed us as women with little dignity and that we jump from man to man which is not what a majority of us women do as we saw from you at the party in Woolloomooloo as you acted out because your friend was there. But in the long run, I am very pleased that you decided to leave him as there was no true connection between the two of us. Your relationship was purely built on lust, no emotional or spiritual attachment.

I wish the best for you in your future,

Riley Powers


Peer View 6

Hi Felicity,

I really enjoyed reading your 1st person perspective of the character’s anger of the Appin Massacre. I’m not sure if this was on purpose but i really liked how the sentence structure of being very blunt and short, this made the tone seem outraged. I feel that the persona is very personal to the insight of the Indigenous Australians which is a pressure to read a post from the time period that there was disgust among the white settlers over this issue. I also like the concept that you place at the end of unity that we all apart of “Human Nature”. Well done on your blog, I really enjoyed reading it!

Week 8, Blog 6

Following along the lines of what I have been discussing above, discuss any of the poems/ prose pieces that we have been looking at this week in terms of how they might be maintaining “the frame and order of the world”?


Over the last few weeks of Australian Literature, we have explored many of 19th century works up to the mid 20th century with authors such as Mary Gilmore, Judith Wright, John Shaw Neilson and others. In particular, in my opinion, Mary Gilmore and John Shaw Neilson have shown in-depth knowledge in regarding the Australian landscape and culture, discussing the order and lifestyle of their world.

Mary Gilmore’s pieces I believe show a unique perspective of women in the 20th century. With her work “Eve Song”, Gilmore discusses the issue of how the way women were stereotyped, treated and portrayed in the early 20th century. The perspective of the lady in the poem highlights the discrimination towards women as they were only perceived as wife and/or mother. Also with Judith Wright’s poem “Eve to Her Daughter”, the theme of women being only portrayed as birth givers particularly in the 8th stanza as she states “you are submissive, following Adam even beyond existence.”. This showing the order of Australian society in the early 20th century but this was the time when art and literature had started to discuss the importance of gender equality; this I believe was the catalyst for change in Australian culture as this was a way to inform and challenge the traditional perspectives of all. Although women’s rights and perceptions didn’t change dramatically throughout the 20th century, I still believe that authors such as Gilmore and Judith Wright were the catalyst for future change.


On the other hand, John Shaw Neilson poetry discusses the spiritual connection of self to the landscape. In the poem, “The Orange Tree”, Neilson portrays two different perspectives of how an individual perceives the landscape as the girl and the man argue about the orange tree. I believe that this is symbolic of the contracting views of the Indigenous Australian’s perspective and the white society’s. Neilson does highlight the lack of understanding through the man’s persona and the frustration of the girl hinting the annoyance of the Indigenous Australians of the white society being so materialistic. This poem does show the way of Australian society and this speaks out that there needs to be a higher level of tolerance and understanding for the Indigenous’ way of life. Even though this was written in the mid 20th century, it is still very relevant to Australian society today.


These authors, in my opinion so far into this subject, do show the lifestyle and order of Australian society in present day though their texts were written much earlier on. And from their works, audience can gain understanding of underlying issues that do occur in Australia.

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Peer Review 5

Hi Rachel,

I completely agree with your post about how lady comes to a bittersweet conclusion in the end of the poem and how the last stanza does show the change of the lady’s thought and opinion. Also your writing style is very good and I like how clear your sentences are and how the sentences flow really well together! It was a pleasure to read. The only thing I will say is I’d like a further discussion on the biblical reference as Gilmore is referring another piece of work with the phrase “Eve span”. But apart from that, I really enjoyed reading your post this week and look forward to reading more of them in the future.