Bruce Dawe’s Drifters – examining the transient life

public school garden

Dawe’s examination of post war Australian society continues in Drifters, a poem portraying the difficulties experienced by a mother who is increasingly frustrated at being responsible for maintaining the family unit.

In developing analytical paragraphs according to the triple TEEEL structure, my current Preliminary English class collaborated on these ideas and drafts:

Themes:

  • suburban life – ownership and stabolity of 1/4 acre block and house
  • family – expectations of nuclear family where dad works and mum stays at home
  • consumerism – labour saving devices and gadgets

Choose a theme and link to specific language features with examples and audience effect. We chose

  1. ‘family/belonging to place’ with an overall positive attitude and
  2. ‘transient life’ representing a negative connotation.

Topic sentence for first paragraph

Desire to have a sense of place and belonging is a basic concept explored by Bruce Dawe in Drifters.

Following discussion, the sentence was amended to

Desire to have a sense of place is explored by Dawe in Drifters.

because

  • repetition of similar ideas uses unnecessary words – ‘and belonging’ removed
  • ‘is a basic concept’ is redundant – concepts are expected to be included in a topic sentence
  • poet’s first name is only used in an essay’s introduction – remove ‘Bruce’

Evidence

Students contributed sentences and ideas to support the concept of this topic sentence:

Symbolism is used in ‘tomatoes’ to show a desire for establishing roots by creating a suburban vegetable garden.

To avoid repetition, we brainstormed an alternative to ‘desire’ as this had been used in the topic sentence:

Symbolism is used in ‘tomatoes’ to show a need for establishing roots by creating a suburban vegetable garden.

Next, we wrote

Empathy is evoked through the connotation of the ‘unpacked’ bottling set …

On reflection, we decided this technique and example is better suited to the second paragraph on transient life. So we then added

A sense of hope is created in the alliteration of ‘bright berries’

which is a complete sentence, but another student had evidence for the idea of hope, so we then wrote this sentence

A sense of hope is created in the alliteration of ‘bright berries’ and dialogue of ‘Make a wish, Tom’.

This lead into another technique

The repeated phrase ‘make a wish’ ends the poem and depicts a lingering craving for stability.

Link sentence

To bring our ideas and evidence together, we need to write a final sentence that includes evaluative language. We decided on

Dawe effectively portrays the urge for belonging within all of us …

I suggested that ‘all of’ was not necessary.  Students were then challenged to create their own sentence ending that included a reference to society, the wider world or community. This helps bring our understanding back to the purpose of reading texts in that we learn about ourselves and humanity.

The finished paragraph should read something like this

Desire to have a sense of place is explored by Dawe in Drifters. Symbolism is used in ‘tomatoes’ to show a desire for establishing roots by creating a suburban vegetable garden. A sense of hope is created in the alliteration of ‘bright berries’ and dialogue of ‘Make a wish, Tom’. The repeated phrase ‘make a wish’ ends the poem and depicts a lingering craving for stability. Dawe effectively portrays the urge for belonging within all members of society.

Editing

Before submitting drafts for feedback, read aloud and check that you have

  • a topic sentence with a clear concept of idea that will be explained in the paragraph
  • evidence that supports the concept – between 3 to 5 different techniques with specific examples and an outline of the effect on the audience. This paragraph has 4 different techniques (or language features)
  • a link sentence that evaluates the composer’s features and summarises ideas – if there was a particular question, your link sentence should reference that question AND/OR refer to the next paragraph

Apply this method of writing to the concept of ‘transient life’ for your second paragraph.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s