Week 8, Peer Review 2

(https://teannie.home.blog/2020/04/01/a-sonnet-to-shakespeare/)

Hi Teannie, 

I’d really like to commend you on your blog post this week as it was very well written and presented. Your form was simple yet effective and easily comprehensible. I enjoyed the rhythm and flow of your poem, especially the inclusion of a rhyming pattern. This gave the overall feel of a Shakespearean poem, particularly considering this was dedicated to Shakespeare himself. Your appreciation and admiration for Shakespeare was evident and allowed me to engage with the material you composed. I also thought the intertextual reference to Shakespeare’s play ‘A midsummer night’s dream’ was a very nice touch. You compared him to “a bright star in the midsummer night”, ultimately establishing his significance in the world. As a result, your poem definitely encapsulated the essence of Shakespeare and was an excellent read overall. I can’t wait to see more of your work!

Week 8, Blog 3 – Write a review of Marcia Williams’ “translation” of The Winter’s Tale into a comic book version

Marcia Williams’ translation of Shakespeare’s classic ‘The Winter’s Tale’ (1623) is an inviting introduction to the Shakespearean world. Although some may not consider Marcia’s work a “translation” of this literary classic due to her complete restructure of presentation and style, the essence of the play is retained and showcased to readers of all ages. Marcia conveys the story in a simple form that is easily comprehended for all to connect with. She does this through a comic-strip layout of the story which delivers the excitement of a live play, evident through her employment of greatly detailed illustrations which create a sense of enjoyment when reading. On top of this, she has also included commentary and images around the border of the actual story, to represent the feeling and experience of physically attending a play, as part of the audience. 

Image sourced from: ‘Mr William Shakespeare’s Plays: Seven Plays presented by Marcia Williams’ (Walker Books, 2009)

Her translation to this style evidently encapsulates major parts of the play and manages to provide an immense amount of detail. The language used is simple and structured in short sentences allowing readers to easily follow along. In addition to this, Marcia has utilised images to act as visual stimuli for readers to understand what is happening. The colour and intricacy of such illustrations allow the painterly language of Shakespeare to come alive in a different form. Therefore, Marcia has simplified the plot-line and challenges the preconceived idea that Shakespearean literature is hard to understand and follow. Ultimately resulting in readers, particularly children, to gain confidence in their ability and form an appreciation for classical literature. Thus, Marcia Williams’ translation of ‘The Winter’s Tale’ is an exciting experience that transforms Shakespeare’s classic play into an inspiring and motivating read for individuals of all ages!

Week 5, Peer Review 1

(https://hollysliteratureblog.art.blog/2020/03/19/blog1/)

Hi Holly, 

I really enjoyed reading your soliloquy of Ophelia’s view of 2020. I felt that you used an authentic voice and channelled that through the character of Ophelia. In particular, you expressed her essence to the situations we are/have faced so far this year. The use of rhetorical questions and metaphors really allowed me to engage with the response as a whole and cleverly explained the current situation of 2020 without being too direct and breaking the flow of the response. Also, the structure of your response definitely fit the style of a soliloquy, allowing Ophelia’s expression and thoughts to flow clearly. Overall, this is a well-written response and I look forward to your future blogs. Great work!

Week 5, Blog 2 – Discuss how the virtual visit to the State Library has expanded your knowledge of Shakespeare’s place in the world

The virtual visit to the State Library of NSW was an extremely beneficial tool in expanding my knowledge of Shakespeare’s place in the world as it provided me with great insight into the mind and perceptions of a literary icon. Not to mention, it also allowed me to form a greater appreciation for his work and to truly understand his significance in our world. 

The Shakespeare room located within the state library was an interesting experience, as I had never known it existed. I was in awe of the authentic Shakespearean relics it held. It was through these that my understanding of Shakespeare’s place in the world was broadened, especially through a detailed analysis of the stained glass windows in the room. At first, I didn’t realise how much information they contained and thought they were just used as decoration to add to the Elizabethan style of the room. However, the virtual visit explained that the windows truly encapsulate Shakespeare’s concept that “all the worlds a stage and we are merely players” from his play ‘As you like it’ (1603). 

Image of stained glass window and extract from ‘As you like it’ (Shakespeare, 1603) sourced from:  https://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/stories/shakespeare-library/shakespeare-room

The windows depict the seven stages of human life as described in Act 2, scene 7 where Shakespeare represents the different roles we each play in our lifetime. This perception of the world around us enabled me to understand that we, as individuals, are players in our own lives. Our fate is not set and we are playing each day as it comes, putting on different costumes whether it be sister, student, teammate or friend, dependent on what is required for each parting day. Therefore, it can be understood that we are indeed acting out our own lives and not entirely living, only existing. 

What is our purpose?  Why are we here? 

These are the questions raised through Shakespeare’s work, illuminating his perceptions of the world, in which he calls us to assess. 

Think of it like this. You look through a telescope lens however it is blurry. To you, the view is obscured and you don’t know what is presented however, if Shakespeare were to look through the lens, he would see the picture clearly. The virtual visit allowed me to understand that Shakespeare’s view of the world was incredibly different to others of his time. He saw the truth in life and therefore encouraged this through his plays. As a result, these works have since influenced readers, particularly fellow literary scholars such as Ben Jonson, who have noted Shakespeare’s significant place in our world. 

Therefore, the virtual visit enlightened me to comprehend the simple fact that Shakespeare wrote to transform. His literature is the lasting legacy of his essence which I now deeply appreciate. Thus, he was more than “merely just an actor” in his own world, but rather a great literary figure who holds a prominent place in the world. His work highlights deeper meanings which guide us (the audience) to live honest lives, even without us knowing it.

Week 4, Blog 1 – Write a prose soliloquy in which you are either Hamlet or Ophelia commenting on the world around you in 2020

Ophelia’s thoughts of 2020

Oh, what a year thus far! Three months in and already it feels like the world has come crumbling down. January, what we thought as the beginning of the new year, a time of change and resolutions, oh but no! Rather a scorching hellfire. Raging bushfires, toxic air, thick blanketing smoke. Our lungs, our precious lungs! Oh, how they suffered. Then, of course, February. The gates of hell remained open, pouring destruction all over our nation. The month of floods, oh how mother nature was so cross with us! Our beloved earth, who cares for us so tenderly, oh how we failed you! But alas, what can we do? What can I do? I am nothing but helpless, a tiny speck, a grain of sand amongst this vast ocean. 

And the disease! Oh, how this coronavirus is so close. For the fear looms over me. Am I next? What can I possibly do to protect myself? It’s too late! Countries in lockdown, entire nations divided over toilet paper, oh how the world has gone absolutely mad! Madness I say! 

Two thousand and twenty (2020), must you have brought forth hysteria to the start of a new decade? Not even a quarter through the year and we are almost undone, hanging by a thread, about to snap. No bandages to patch us up just yet. Oh two thousand and twenty (2020), for I hope you offer us assistance. We are in need, the world has come undone! Ridden with madness, controlled by selfish desire and not a shred of light in the horizon. 

Please, two thousand and twenty (2020), for I ask you to save us. Save us from your reckoning and help us to understand the consequences of our actions. For we are the result of our undoing. But, my woes are yours and yours mine. We can only hope the final three-quarters of the year are a time of rebuilding and saving. Saving us from ourselves. 

Image of Australian Bushfires sourced from: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/10/world/australia/bushfire.html

Image of Australian Floods sourced from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/17/raindouses-australian-bush-fires-flash-floods-now-threaten-wildlife/

Image of empty shelves sourced from: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-03/toilet-paper-production-boosted-amid-coronavirus-concerns/12020230

Summative Entry – ‘Australia is not a finished product’


(Sourced from: http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/culture/community/display/94161-sydney-writers-walk-)

Throughout this semester, the exploration of Australian literature has allowed me to build up immense knowledge and delve into the literary world. I was able to make comparisons between writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which ultimately led to my agreement with the concept that “Australia is not a finished product”.

Our country is a diverse nation, not complete but rather constantly changing as it learns from past mistakes and new experiences. As stated by David Malouf, “Australia is still revealing itself to us”, which propels us to the understanding that our country still has so much to learn and teach. Therefore, we should remain open to the possibilities it presents and use past experiences as a guide for future endeavours. 

I have since gained rich insight into the literary history of Australia and a new perspective of the environment around me through studying this unit. My reflection on Judith Wright’s ‘Rockface’ in my first blog, which I consider my best blog,  truly encapsulates this. It allowed the creative freedom to express my personal connection to a significant place: my home, much like writers of the nineteenth century. The threat of losing such a significant place is devastating, especially since it has deep personal value. However, Australian literature has taught me that although it is hard to let go of the past, the future presents opportunities for growth and change. Hence, it is not a “finished product”. 

In my second blog, I demonstrated how perspectives of writers from the twentieth century were not definite, as evident through Ned Kelly’s status during this time period. The perception of him was divided by hero or criminal, showing the mindset of this era where people were allowed the freedom to make conclusions based on what was presented to them. Therefore, writers from this era took opportunities available to create work which would flourish and become appreciated by the public. 

My third blog describing art and literature in a person’s experience can be linked to the example of Australian writers. They wrote as a result of personal experience with the Australian way of life which was able to resonate with others, showing how there is more to something when you look deeper and take the opportunities it presents. These writers evidently allowed for Australian literature to flourish into what it has since become today, as a result of using opportunities to enact change. 

Particularly, my letter to Patrick White in my fourth blog expresses overall appreciation for his literary work ‘Down at the Dump’, which allowed me to perceive “normal” as exciting compared to the definitive boring that it is associated with. I believe his work shows how there are many complex layers of society that are constantly changing and questioning social norms. White’s exploration of the meaning of life illustrates how society can become narrow-minded by “closing off possibilities”. However, by remaining optimistic of the challenges presented, individuals are able to view their purpose in life. 

Hence, Australia is not a finished product as it is constantly evolving due to the nation’s diversity, open-mindedness and willingness to accept opportunity that leads to growth. It has developed tremendously since the first colonists however at the cost of Aboriginal culture, as explored in my fifth blog post. Kim Scott’s novel ‘That Deadman Dance’, demonstrates these mistakes, acting as a catalyst for change in which Australia has the opportunity to learn from them to make the nation better in the future. Overall, my experience with this unit has been a journey and taught me the immense progression of Australia from the nineteenth century to society today.

Week 10, Peer Review 4

(https://hollysliteratureblog.art.blog/2019/09/16/blog-4/)

Hi Holly, 

I really enjoyed reading your blog post this week! Your structure and style of writing were very well suited to the question and made me feel as if I was personally writing to Patrick White. Your comprehension of White’s short story ‘Down at the Dump’ was made clear and concise throughout the response and I particularly loved your comments connecting his work to reality, which made the overall letter feel more personal. Your argument of White’s work exploring the “multifaceted nature of society” was very well expressed and your use of tone in the final paragraph made me feel delighted to read such work! Overall, you have written a fantastic response. Well done!

Week 10, Blog 5 – Reflect on the ending of ‘That Deadman Dance’ by Kim Scott. What is your interpretation of it?

This week I decided to respond to my own question, to reflect on the ending of Kim Scott’s novel ‘That Deadman Dance’ as it initially divided my interpretation. Scott’s novel effectively details the encounter between Noongar people and the Europeans on the ‘friendly frontier’ in Western Australia, showing the extent of their relationship over an extensive period of time and events that took place which set the path of Australian history. I believe that this novel pays homage to Australian society and its development over time, since first contact between Indigenous Australians and Europeans. 

Upon first glance, Scott’s ending presented itself as very abstract however hopeful. I personally had to read over the last few pages multiple times to grasp exactly what was going on, however, after further reflection I was able to come to an understanding of its abrupt ending. The scene is set in a somewhat hopeful light, directed by Bobby who “could sing and dance the spirit of this place” (p.390), remaining optimistic that the Noongar and European cultures will coexist. The union of Jak Tar and Binyan acts as symbolism of the utopia Bobby wished for, as they represent both cultures bridging the gap of difference and coming together as one to conquer cultural divide. 

However, when evaluating the novel’s ending again, I found that this glimmer of hope insinuated by Bobby was soon overturned due to the European desire for total control rather than compromise. As a result, ending in tragedy and uncertainty for the Noongar people. The last paragraph, particularly the excerpt “suddenly, he felt no fear, but a terrible anxiety”, expresses a dramatic change of tone and attitude experienced by Bobby. The sense of melancholy is evident through the excerpt “he heard gunshots… and… a little dog yelping” (p.395), where this violent and horrific vision shows how the hope for a culturally diverse community was destroyed by complete ignorance and lack of cultural understanding by the Europeans. Thus, portraying the novel to have an overall negative ending. 

Additionally, I felt that the Noongar culture had already become damaged by the Europeans long before this final scene, particularly at the event of destroying Wunyeran’s grave. The simile, “they were spiralling downwards, like leaves from a tree… a tree that had already fallen” (p.356), expresses the inherent disrespect shown towards the Noongar people as a result of European ignorance, which ultimately catalysed the downfall of Noongar tradition. 

Thus, I perceive Kim Scott’s ‘That Deadman Dance’ to have shown the effort of merging Noongar and European culture however, posed unsuccessful due to ignorance and lack of cultural understanding, ultimately illuminating its abrupt and pessimistic ending.

Week 8, Peer Review 3

(https://courtneyemattick.art.blog/2019/09/02/week-6-art-and-literature/)

Hi Courtney, 

Firstly, I just want to say WOW! Your response really transported me, and I felt as if I was experiencing the same sense of amazement with you. I loved how you touched on a personal experience to truly encapsulate the extent of meaning the painting ‘Milford Sound’ by Eugene Von Guerard, has on you. Your wording, particularly through descriptive language, is excellently employed and allows the overall response to flow smoothly. Also, the side-by-side comparison of the painting and your photograph was a lovely touch that tied the whole response together. I look forward to reading more of your blogs, great work!

Week 8, Blog 4 – Write a letter to Patrick White telling him what you think of any one of the texts you have read this week

Patrick White, Sydney Australia, 1973 (https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2013/11/07/patrick-white-within-budding-grove/) and Brown letter envelope (https://www.calimt.edu/about/letter-envelope-brown/ )

Dear Mr. White, 

First of all, I would just like to thank you for your literary contributions towards Australian Literature. Your work has allowed the nation to evolve and view society in a different light, one having deviated from the linear mindset of colonialism. It is because of this, that you were able to provide insight into existential questions that many Australians were confused by and, prompted their search for meaning.

I believe this idea is quite apparent in your literary work ‘Down at the Dump’ which truly encapsulates the meaning of life. I found your imagination and envisionment of the fictional town “Sarsaparilla” to convey your overall message and aim of exploring ‘the extraordinary from the ordinary’. It is this vision of yours that highly resonates with me personally, as it shows that everyone is special and unique in their own way: we don’t need to try and become someone else in order to be perceived as extraordinary. The term itself can be split into the words “extra” and “ordinary”, alluding to how normal people are far from ordinary in their own ways. I found that this was most evident through the comparison of the two families: the Hogbens and Whalleys. While the Hogbens were most focused on how they were perceived by their community, the Whalleys were not and continued to live their everyday lives with excitement. From this, I found that your work ultimately brought to light the meaning of a happy life. Some may have everything and still feel uncontent, like Mrs. Hogben, whilst others make the most of what they have, to appreciate everything life has to offer, like the Whalleys.

Overall, I personally enjoyed your work ‘Down at the Dump’ as it allowed myself to embark on your literary journey to explore ‘the extraordinary from the ordinary’. 

Kind Regards, 

Isabella 

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