The Texts studied in class focus on a few elements of Australian culture. The reality is, considering Australia is a multicultural society, that there are many different cultures within our society. “The rabbits” by Shaun Tan and John Marden provides a critical version of the colonisation of the British from the perspective of the numbats, the numbats symbolise the aboriginals. Whilst in the poem “My country” by Dorothea Mackellar they show the difference between the two countries, Britain and Australia. It also shows that to Dorothea Mackellar nothing can compare to her country, Australia. Both texts provide contrasting values.
In the beginning of the text The Rabbits, the values are overwhelmingly sympathetic towards the indigenous culture. This is evident in the foreboding evident through the puff of smoke rising; this is the first signs of colonisation. As the story goes on you can see that the illustrator, Shaun Tan, has used darker colours, this symbolises the loss of hope among the numbats. Likewise with the poem ‘My Country,’ Mackellar’s poem values how the landscape provides hardship but ‘she pays us back threefold. ’ The value added is in the way the people grow and gain from the adversity that they face.
This is evident in the first stanza because the landscape of England has “ordered woods and gardens” but cannot compare to the Australian landscape that is metaphorically associated with precious gems, “the sapphire misted-mountains,” “I love her Jewel sea. ” It seems the post-colonial Australian society is enriched through hardship and is more appreciative of its beauty as a result. The text The Rabbits is written from the perspective of the numbats, using this perspective it allows us to see what effect historically, colonisation had on the Aboriginals.
The cruelty of the British is depicted with increasing venom. First contact is depicted in benign as even the language suggests ‘some were friendly. ’ At this stage the natural landscape is still dominant. The historical conflict between the British and the indigenous is depicted by the increasing foregrounding of the rabbits and the loss and destruction of the landscape. In the poem by Dorothea Mackellar at the beginning of the poem there is a hint of British culture in the landscape. The poem is set in post-colonial times with a predominantly Anglo culture.
The first stanza represents the motherland whilst the rest of the poem is a reverent examination of the country in the early twentieth century. Both texts therefore examine culture. The first focuses on the indigenous culture in decline whilst the second looks at post-colonial culture on the rise. These texts provide contrasting perspectives. In the beginning of the text The Rabbits, the land starts off overwhelmingly natural, untouched by man, but in the near distance you can see a puff of smoke rising, this is the first signs of colonisation.
As the story goes on you can see that the illustrator, Shaun Tan, has used darker colours, this symbolises the loss of hope among the numbats. Likewise with the poem ‘My Country,’ at the beginning of the poem they talk about how the landscape of England has “ordered woods and gardens” then the author goes on to talk about her country, Australia. She uses personification to talk about her one true country by comparing Australia to a variety of precious gems, “the sapphire misted-mountains,” “I love her Jewel sea,” in this sense we see the British side of culture that is linked to the landscape.
There are multiple ways of looking at what culture actually is, one sense of the Australian culture is what you see in John Marsden work and that is look at a sense of grievance and loss in response to what happened to the numbats. They also use a very different sense of what Australian culture is the post-colonial that is given by Dorothea Mackellar that creates a sense of patriotism as a result of a reaction to the fact that some Australians weren’t feeling those emotions. These two texts provide an intake of two very different cultures. Both of these inspire a sense of landscape use.