Essay on Analysis Of The Poem ' Old Black Jacko '

1162 Words May 29th, 2016 null Page
C.J. Dennis’ poetry in A Book for Kids (1922) exhibits a text that was emblematic of 1920s Australian literature and values. I have transformed the poem Old Black Jacko into an interview with a female indigenous health care worker in contemporary society.

The base text is a true representation of the values, and thus the literature, of 1920s Australia – a society struggling with the assimilation of the native people into white society after colonialism and Federation, the social organisation of the patriarchy typical to Eurocentric culture, and a system based on capitalism. The era saw the distinctive divide between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples grow as the Australian soldiers of WWI returned home victoriously, the non-indigenous praised and rewarded and the indigenous denied access to medical treatment and declared ineligible for the soldier settlement program. In addition to this, Indigenous people were experiencing forced relocation onto mission reserves.

If we examine the poem, we can see remnants of these ideas foregrounded in the written and visual texts:
Line 1: ‘Old Black Jacko:’
The gendering of the protagonist as male refers to a phallocentric society.
Line 2: ‘Smokes tobacco:’
The mention of tobacco alludes to the capitalistic system of payment between the indigenous and non-indigenous after colonisation, where tobacco was treated as a form of currency.
Line 7: ‘But his lubra says…:’
The use of the term ‘lubra’ is an example of the lexicon of…

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