An Analysis Of The Firstborn By Jack Davis

1235 Words 5 Pages
Register to read the introduction… “The Firstborn” is a free verse poem, a name first used to describe the movement in French poetry in the late nineteenth century aiming to free poetry from the strict conventions of rhyme and rhythm. Traditional rhythm is abandoned and is replaced by natural rhythm and cadences of ordinary speech, so the flow of the verse rises and falls at random as do the poet’s thoughts and emotions thus enabling the reader to relate to the topic. There are three stanzas in the poem with a rhyming pattern of abab, and four lines in each stanza. The use of rhyme, such as “sighing” and “crying”, allows the reader to have a connection to the poem via their memory, rather than just by reading the words on the page alone. Repetition is mostly used in the first stanza to highlight the main idea of the poem. Words such as “long” and “why” are repeated to emphasize the land’s questions at the treatment of her children, and also enables the reader to also question the prejudicial treatment of The Australian Indigenous People. As the poem is free verse, it allows the reader to dig deeper into the meaning behind the structure of the poem, because it raises the issue about the harsh treatment and the loss of Australia’s Indigenous ethnicity. It seems even though it was written in 1970, it still occurs today, as some people today judge others and place stereotypes on them because of their ethnicity. Metonymy is used in the poem to associate the word, “Firstborn” with Aboriginals, as they were the first settlers in Australia. The poem begins with a question, “Where are my firstborn?” By the end of the poem, the question is answered: “The answer is there when I look at the dying, at the death and neglect of my dark proud race.” Through the use of colour in the quote, the reader is able to acknowledge Jack Davis, is speaking about racial inequality and again …show more content…
“The Firstborn” is a clear protest about the extinction of and discrimination against the Australian Indigenous people as shown through the eyes of the brown land. Through the use of personification, the brown land is depicted as a maternal figure that sends the poet’s message of racial division in society. The first line, “Where are my firstborn, said the brown land sighing.” paints a picture of the land mourning for her offspring, as a mother does when her child is being unjustly treated or has wandered away. She describes her “firstborn” as “they”, depicting Aboriginals as people, not savages in place of what the general public thought of them back in the day. She recollects how they were formed out of her “dust.”, something that could be related to biblical creation and how God formed Adam from the Earth’s dust and breathed life into him. She then speaks of straining her “ears for the sound of their laughter” and how “only their spirits dwell in the caves.” However as the poem goes on, the land’s tone becomes harsh and accusing, and is directed at the reader. “You are silent, you cringe from replying” is not only written in second person, but leaves the reader at the mercy of an angry land pinning the blame on the ones whom she “bore after”, showing there’s nothing they can do or say to justify what they did to her children. There is no excuse for racism. She sees the look of realization on the faces of the ones who have caused her so much pain as the questions are “like a blow on the face.” Her anger is brief but powerful as she drowns in the weight of her grief once more when she sees the “dying” and “neglect” of her children. Given our knowledge of generic conventions such as personification, symbolism, and historical context, the reader is given an even better understanding of the underlying theme and message of the

Related Documents