“Down at the Dump” by Patrick White–What aspects of style make White’s writing distinctive?

Reading Patrick White’s characters, the Whallys in this short story is like listening to the conversation of my next door neighbours. There are swear words, high pitch voice and informal language involved. In this story, White included words that are used by a lot of people in their everyday conversations. For example, words like “waddayaget?” instead of “what do you get?”, “missus” instead of wife. The informal style of his writing can be noticed when some of the characters of the story are talking to each other. This adds humour to his story and not boring to read. Like most writers, he showed his poetic side by using metaphors and he did this in formal writing when he narrates the story. He switches from formal to informal (or vice versa) style of writing. White has a way of making his narrative structure complex, perhaps to add interest in the story. His different characters especially Daise is also interesting. She is the dead person that talks that is about to be buried. The love story of Meg and Lummy made this story more varied and interesting to read. My favourite line is, “Now Meg Hogben and Lummy Whalley did not notice each other even when they looked”. I think this is funny considering they knew each other. I like the idea that themes such as love and death are both in this short story.

The complex narrative structure of the story made my experience in reading this story difficult. But the humour in it helped ease the difficulty. For me, White’s use of informal language, his use of words in clever and funny way and the complex narrative structure make his writing distinctive.


Oz Tapestry By Martin Sharp


This tapestry was designed by Martin Sharp as his visual interpretation of Bernard O’Dowd’s poem titled, Australia. It is a beautiful piece of artwork that involves different bright colours and distinct images that were put together in one place. Here, we can see Captain Cook’s ship sailing towards the land now called Australia in a clear blue sky. The images presented here are all Australian icons such as Uluru or Ayers rock, Opera house, dingo, aboriginal hand print, the Harbour Bridge, the Luna park that was caught on fire. The fish and the starfish represents the Great Barrier Reef. The starry, bursting images in the middle represent New Year’s Eve celebration.

Among other images, the Harbour Bridge, though partly hidden serves as the centrepiece of the artwork due to its size and its placement. Apart from the fact that it is an Australian icon, it can also be interpreted as an important structure allowing a nation to grow. This describes what Australia is today– a developed country. The Southern cross can also be seen. This forms part of the bridge’s pillars. The five white star of the Southern cross in the middle are part of the national flag of Australia. The map of Australia is there to show that these images are part of this country.

With its beautiful design and unique presentation of these images, Martin Sharp’s Oz tapestry is both captivating and entertaining.

“Shopping Day” By Russel Drysdale

This is one of Drysdale’s paintings about Aboriginal people he met on his travels. This painting reflects the life of Aboriginals where they are forced to integrate within the white society and were forced to abide by the rules. The subjects here were all in a standing position as if someone in front of them is taking their photo. I like the concept of this and this is one of the reasons I chose this painting. The other reason is, Drysdale’s sympathy to the Aboriginals that drives him to paint them and the outback as his subjects. This painting shows a picture of two Aboriginal women and two Aboriginal children. The way they dressed up and the hats they are wearing are suggestive of something of an old European- style. The buildings behind them also indicates the same. The faces of the subjects were painted vaguely that it is almost impossible to accurately describe their facial expressions. For me, their postures indicates their feeling of boredom and nothing indicates a feeling of excitement. This could suggest they are forced to wear these clothes.

source: http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au

The artist uses earth tone colours in this painting. We can see it in the colours he used for the ground, buildings and the statue. Black is also used when he painted most of the dress that one of the women is wearing. Some parts of the sky are in the shades of grey which tells me the weather on that day is not too hot. This is probably the reason why the subjects are not wearing shoes. There is nothing much included in the picture. No other people, animals or tress included. It looked like a lonely place for them to be in.

“Eve Song” My thoughts about this poem

This poem tells about the woman’s unfortunate experience as a wife and as a struggling mother. I feel somewhat connected to the woman Mary Gilmore portrayed in the poem not because we have the same experience, but because of the plain reason that I, too is a wife and a mother. Our experience though, differ in many ways.

In the poem, the author reveals the woman’s struggle to keep her marriage together despite her husband’s infidelities. In any form of relationships, betrayal is completely unacceptable. Your decision to leave or stay depends on the many things based on your circumstances. In this poem, the woman chooses to stay, most probably because she is financially dependent from her husband. The poem also mentioned about the exhaustion she felt to be the only one to look after her children that she adored. And not getting the appreciation she deserves for all the hard work that she did. The overwhelming task of being a housewife and the feeling of being alone and not being appreciated by her husband paints a picture of a suffering woman. But despite what her husband did, she welcomes her back with open arms.

This poem was written in the year 1918 and unfortunately, this story still resonates in the life of some women of today, not only here in Australia but also around the world.

Charles Harpur’s ”Midsummer Noon in the Australian Forest” -My understanding about the poem

Harpur’s experience of the bush in ”Midsummer Noon in the Australian Forest” tells of the writer’s admiration of how peaceful, quiet and relaxing the environment was at that particular time. He was amazed that the insects were still or not moving. Even the ants that are known to be always working can be seen here to be resting, except the dragon hornet that makes a humming sound that slowly comes in front of him and then takes off. He was full of admiration and excitement when he saw it and describes in full details what the creature looked like. The environment was too quite and so peaceful that he too, like the creatures around him was resting and taking advantage of that very moment. He felt very comfortable lying down in that particular spot in the bush hidden from the scorching sun, day dreaming or in deep thought.

Harpur uses words that are easy for the readers to understand along with detailed descriptions of what he saw in his surroundings. He succeeded in taking the reader’s mind straight to the place where he was at and so allowing the reader to feel and enjoy the beauty and calm of that particular noon in the bush that he experienced.

My Jackfruit Tree

When I was a young girl, my mother had several jackfruit trees she planted in our backyard. One day when we were eating the fruit, she suggested she would help me plant my own jackfruit tree from seeds. Being very young then I wasn’t interested in planting anything. For me (at that age) planting is an adults job, not kids like me. All I wanted to do was to play with my friends in the neighbourhood after school and weekends. And who wants to plant fruits that you can’t eat for five or six years? This is what she told me. For me, five or six years is a very long time to wait. So why would I bother planting? But one afternoon when I had no one to play with and with nothing else to do, I decided to try to plant a jackfruit tree. Since my mother was at the market at that moment, I did it alone. I took some dried seeds from the bowl and started burying them in the ground, not sure if I did it right. Then I watered and put some sticks around them. I watered them every morning before I walked to school and in the afternoon right after school. I kept counting the days when they were going to come out and kept visiting them whenever I was at home. I was very happy when finally they arrived, though only two out of five turned into seedlings. I nurtured them like I was caring for something vulnerable and proudly showed my family and friends and told them to be always careful when they’re around my plants.

Photo: not the actual tree

Then one morning before I went to school, I noticed that one of my plants looked very different from the others, like it was dying. The following morning, my mother being an early riser discovered the plant was dead. I was a bit sad when I saw it but told myself I still had one left. As my last plant grew, I too grew too into a young lady. Whenever new friends came to visit I always showed my tree to them. I also liked to sit under its shade when I did my homework or simply read my favourite book on a lazy afternoon. After high school I left home to work in the city. I asked my mother to keep an eye on my precious tree. During those times our only means of communication was through letters. In one of her letters she mentioned that the jackfruit tree was destroyed by a storm. The strong winds blew my tree down to the ground. I was sad to hear the bad news. That tree was special to me. It was my first plant. The plant I had nurtured, cared for and had watched grew into a mature tree until it gave us fruits, and most of all, that tree was part of my childhood.

First Meeting


That one morning of February, a new experience

was about to begin for me.

To learn new things , I was excited

Yet, I felt scared.


New faces I was with, it felt terrifying

‘Cause speaking in front of them

is not my sort of thing.

I was praying the lecturer would not call my name

‘Cause if he does , I will be embarrassed.


Reading the poem and learning a bit about the poet

is something I won’t forget

You know why? ’cause for me it’s one of a kind.


Looking at the pictures of painting

on the board, I was moved

‘Cause it tells a very important story of the past.

The past that for me should always be remembered

and understood.


Two hours have passed and the discussions ended

I went home thinking about all the things I learned.

And happy to be part of the Clemente program

to us, they shared.