In Speaking For Those Who Have No Means Of Speaking, Bruce Dawe Has Succeeded In Writing Poetry That Has Universal Appeal

1281 words - 6 pages

The universal appeal of Bruce Dawe's poems lie in the poet's passion in speaking for those who have no means of speaking. In "The Wholly Innocent" Dawe challenges his readers through a wilful determination to terminate the pregnancy of a healthy foetus. And in Homecoming Dawe questions the validity of war as he speaks of the untimely death of several adolescent boys who are brought home as dead soldiers. Through the use of persona in a dramatic monologue, vivid imagery, onomatopoeia, deliberate repetition and other poetic techniques Dawe reaches the moral conscience of his readers to the wrongness of terminating life prematurely whatever the reason for it may be.The penetrating imagery of a ...view middle of the document...

Dawe believed the strongest way he could address this widely debated topic was to illustrate to his readers the views of an unborn foetus that would normally have "no means of speaking".Through the construction of a persona as the unborn foetus in Wholly Innocent, Dawe makes a deliberate appeal from the foetus to save his own life. The lines "For I was part of that doomed race whose death-cell was the womb," and "Oh you with god-like power it lies to so decide," explain to the reader that Dawe is using a child who is about to be terminated to speak for all aborted foetuses. Furthermore, Dawe is directing this poem at all parents who are contemplating abortion. The foetus has been created to have strong emotions and beliefs like any other living human being which further evokes the reader's pity for the persona. He argues that his parents are being undemocratic towards him because he "never chose, nor gave assent, nor voted on my {his} fate." Thus, he is appealing to his parents that he like any other living human being deserves the right to live a full life. The persona, a feeble foetus, also, reaches out to the abortionist, "whose god like power" gives him the right and ability to terminate him. Therefore, the persona tries to get hold of anyone who he thinks can save him from a premature death. Dawe uses the personal appeal of the unborn foetus to voice his support for the full life of all foetuses that would normally have no means of speaking.The repetitive use of words and phrases in Homecoming reiterates the "machine-like processing of human bodies. This is a ghastly reality common to all conflicts that use innocent soldiers as cannon fodder. These soldiers will never have an opportunity to voice their protests or their sense of loss; hence Dawe offers a shocking expose of the futility of war and is able to voice his concerns of those who cannot articulate their views.*" This repetition is outlined throughout this poem to describe the process of the various stages in the return of the colossal number of dead soldiers brought back to their homes in Australia and America "too late" yet "too early" from the Vietnam War. The repetition of the word "day" in the first line, "All day, day after day," enables the reader to visualise just how often the process of identifying the substantial mass of adolescent dead soldiers occurs. On numerous occasions the word "them" is used to describe the anonymous dead soldiers. Therefore, each individual soldier is dehumanised as he is basically classified as the same as all the other dead young men. Hence, repetition is used...

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