Australian Values Analysis

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These chosen texts use the loss of innocence to symbolise the formation of Australian values. The respective authors construct this state of innocence through characterisation. Notably, this occurs alongside depictions of the Australian landscape. The vulnerability of these characters links to representations of colonial stereotypes, such as the farmer or drover. This contextualises the Australian landscape as a colonial frontier. The texts juxtapose the loss of innocence alongside these romantic depictions of Australian life. This narrative action portrays the reality of the landscape through reference to Australian cultural myths. As a result, the establishment of national values links with an exposure to the realities of Australian life. …show more content…
For example, Henry Lawson employs the typical conventions of a bush ballad to emphasise the rural setting of The Union Buries Its Dead (Tejedor 91). Similarly, Peter Weir presents a romantic view of the “isolated farm” at the outset of Gallipoli (Travers 15). The representation of these settings emphasises the position of these characters as cultural stereotypes. This is apparent in Gallipoli, as Weir juxtaposes the behaviour of the unruly Australian soldiers with the well-mannered English officers (Gillard 130). In contrast, Peter Carey illustrates the setting of American Dreams through the reactions of characters to this romantic perception. The dismissive “attitudes” of the characters in American Dreams to the “pretty” town reinforces its status as an “archetypal Australian country community” (Dunlop 35). Accordingly, these texts share a romantic portrayal of the Australian landscape. This representation of setting serves as the foundation of attitudes within these characters. The use of cultural conceptions to depict rural Australia as pure and incorrupt emphasise their state of innocence. Correspondingly, Weir …show more content…
The narrative events that lead to a loss of innocence highlight the inability of colonialist values to survive the harsh realities of rural Australia. For example, the death of Lawson’s young drover counters the “myth of the virgin land” (Tejedor 98). This event acts as a loss of innocence for those with an optimistic view of Australia as a prosperous frontier. This event has a similar role to the death of Archie in Gallipoli, and the arrival of the tourists in American Dreams. Weir and Carey denote the failures of colonial relationships through the disastrous outcome of subservience to a colonial power. Gallipoli emphasises a broad loss of innocence over the “futility” of “fighting British wars” through the pointlessness of Archie’s sacrifice (Bennett 642). Weir suggests that Australia’s position as the frontier, and its colonial relationship with Britain, results in Archie’s death. Similarly, Carey’s model of the town forces financial dependence on the American tourists. This creates a comparable colonial relationship. The model is a “subversive mimicry”, and the town must act according to foreign perceptions of their culture as a result (Dunlop 36). Weir and Carey use cultural juxtaposition between characters to represent colonial relationships as constrictive. In contrast, Lawson achieves this through the absurdity of European habits in the Australian landscape. Lawson’s narrator

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