Exploring Indigenous Australian Texts English Language Essay

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Australia is a far cry from other foreign countries. Highly distinct in its landscape but constantly changing in social identity, it is still a certainty that Australian texts have still managed to forge a culture, representation and identity that is unique to any other foreign text type. Although most unbefitting of the Indigenous Australians, an identity has been formed around a distinctive Anglo-Celtic ethical origin, however there has been an increased use of Indigenous Australians in texts and this has certainly become more frequently throughout Australian literature and film. Through texts such as the poem - Clancy of the Overflow by Banjo Paterson, texts have been able to represent a unique national character, a character that is at one with the land. As for landscapes, other texts such as Rabbit-Proof Fence directed by Philip Noyce have been able to further fuel the image of the Australian outback, widely known to be of red soils, harsh climate and sparse vegetation. Unlike the other texts, the Victoria Bitter - 'A Celebration for every man' advertisement has been able to reproduce a more modern portrayal of the Australian landscape and identity, to be of a humorous nature and the typical Australian 'Larrikin', although the more modern Australian is still constructed to be highly unique. Thus, though the use of the Australian stereotype in Australian texts, the self-awareness of texts have been able to construct such an identity that it is uncommon in which the Australian landscape and cultural identity has been left to be ambiguous.

Of a highly distinct nature is the stereotype of the Australian character. In most Australian texts, the Australian identity is consistently unique to that of any other culture and it is this that leaves the Australian identity unambiguous. "Clancy's gone to Queensland droving, and we don't know where he are." Clancy of the Overflow reinforces the down-to-earth nature of the typical outback Australian. The poem tells of the laid-back Australian nature, how Clancy casually leaves to go droving in Queensland and how his "mates" don't know where he specifically is. (What would be made out to be a major event in another foreign culture is made to be a frequent and casual event for an Australian male). It also represents another stereotype of the Australian male, how they often wander the Australian outback to drove, for a large portion of their younger years - how the Australian is 'at one with the land', the way they have deep associations with the Australian landscape. This is also similar with Moodoo - the Aboriginal tracker from Rabbit Proof-Fence shows his vast experience, down-to-earth character and deep affinity with the Australian landscape. It is this self-awareness of the Australian male and his 'relationship' with Australia in texts which make them highly distinct to other texts of foreign cultures.

Often represented to be vast, of red-soils with a hot climate, the Australian landscape is always of high emphasis in Australian texts. In the Victoria Bitter commercial there are three aspects of the Australian landscape shown - the 'classic' Australian town, the stereotypical brewery and the typical Australian bush. In the commercial, it pans across the setting, from the town site where to the Australian pub of typical Australian architecture, and finally the Australian bush. This not only takes in three main aspects of the Australian landscape, but is commenting on how distinct the Australian landscape is with a consistency of landscape throughout the Victoria Bitter series of advertisement, reinforced by a wide known Australian brand of beer - another uniqueness of the Australian identity in itself. Commenting on the Australian landscape, Clancy of the Overflow provides a juxtaposition of outback and urban Australia. Paterson uses terms such as 'Vision Splendid', 'Sunlit Plains', 'Wond'rous glory' and 'Everlasting Stars' he represents his own idealist Australia, of bushlands and agriculture, whilst to emphasize his distaste of the cities using 'Dingy little office', 'Dirty City' and 'Gutter Children' and as a result leaves both the Australian identity and landscape with little ambiguity. The most detailed account of the Australian landscapes however, comes from Rabbit-Proof Fence. Set in Western Australia during the 1930's, the harsh Australian outback typically consisting of red sands and little vegetation, whilst the landscape is continuously foregrounded. This detailed account of the Australian stereotype of outback Australian allows for little derived ambiguity due to Australian texts consistency of complying with the Australian stereotype even in modern times.

Like the Australian landscape, the representation of the Australian Identity is equally succinct in foregrounding the uniqueness of Australian culture. The use of slang in Australian texts is a trademark of the Australian identity. What makes an obvious appearance in all prominent Australian texts is the use of these colloquial terms, mostly used in outback Australia by rural Australians and this is foregrounded, emphasizing the highly unique cultural identity. In Rabbit-Proof Fence the use of 'Aussie' slang is highly apparent, 'smoko' - meaning lunch break, 'ankle biter' - meaning small child, and 'bludger' - meaning someone who does little or no work, are examples used throughout the feature film highlighting the uniqueness of the Australian life. In the Victoria Bitter commercial, 'larrikin' - someone who constantly jokes, is a term widely used to describe the Australian identity as a humorous culture. Whilst the use of 'bogan' - an insulting term for someone who is not sophisticated, is also commonly used to describe many Australians, whilst from the perspective of other cultures all Australians would be referred to as 'bogans', thus proving that collectively, Australians are highly unique hence being distinct in identity.

A value of high importance in the Australian culture is mateship. Australians are often described as a friendly and sociable culture. In Rabbit-Proof Fence though thick-and-thin, the three main characters of Molly, Daisy and Gracie show a strong bond throughout the film. Whether they undergo indifference or times of extreme hardship, these three characters show a unique bond, one that can only be regarded as 'Australian'. They display a certain uniqueness that could only be regarded as of Australian nature. In the Victoria Bitter commercial, the value of mateship is highly apparent. With hundreds of Australians, both male and female tightly packed into the one pub, all made out to be of a joyous manner, the value of mateship is shown to be an integral aspect of the Australian culture. Not only is this the case, but the stereotype of a multicultural Australia is also shown with individuals from many different races and cultures all being part of the jovial occasion highlighting the distinctness of Australian mateship. Clancy of the Overflow although abstract, suggests that the value of mateship is apparent between people who may not be closely involved with one another. Paterson suggests a bond or mateship may not be reliant on the involvement of two or more persons thus implying that Australian mateship is a value that is shared among all Australians, that all Australians are in fact 'mates'.

The notion of Australians being 'battlers' is a highly used characteristic in Australian texts. It could be argued that Australians would be one of the most courageous and hard-working as shown in many Australian texts. Rabbit-Proof Fence shows the extreme courage of the three indigenous children as they fight for their own freedom and independence, whilst overcoming many abhorrent obstacles. Texts like these not only show the resilience of the Australian character but also show how like the Anglo-Celtic Australians, the Indigenous peoples share the same characteristics allows for a wide similarity between all Australians and the Australian identity. Other films such as Gallipoli directed by Peter Weir shows a more modest courage, that Australians have the courage to match an army of much greater firepower and although retreating, doing so with dignity and pride only exhibited by Australians. This use of courage throughout Australian texts allows for unique values to be the medium by which the minimum amount of ambiguity is established.

Being highly self-aware, primarily seeking to foreground the uniqueness of Australian landscapes and cultural identity, it can be concluded that very few Australian are left to be ambiguous. With Australian texts being highly distinct in nature, they portray unique characteristics whether it is 'Australian courage' in Rabbit-Proof Fence, mateship and colloquialism displayed in Clancy of the Overflow, or how the landscape has shaped the cultural identity. All Australian texts have adopted values that are distinctly unique to that of any other culture, constructing these texts has shaped the Australian identity with the slightest ambiguity.

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