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Bruce DaweLIFE CYCLE
 Originated in Melbourne in 1858.
 Has been played in Australia since
1915.
 Australia is currently the only nation
in ...
 ‘Big Jim Phelan’ was a flamboyant, 114kg
ruck player for the South Melbourne
Australian Rules Football Club (now
Sydney ...
 Richmond Football Club is an
Australian rules football club
which competes in the
Australian Football League
(AFL).
 Gr...
 “Carn”  the equivalent of saying “come on” in a thick
Australian accent.
 “Beribboned”  decorated with ribbons.
 “Ba...
 Football is a religion. It…
Follows similar rites of passage
Involves ceremonial baptisms
Is a life-long act of worsh...
 Football follows the pattern of the eternal life cycle.
 Birth  Life  Death  Rebirth.
1. Go through the poem and try...
 Australian passions will never change.
 Australians possess the need for something or someone that
will make their live...
“When children are born in Victoria
they are wrapped in the club-colours, laid in beribboned cots,
having already begun a ...
“Carn, they cry, Carn… feebly at first
while parents playfully tussle with them
for possession of a rusk: Ah, he’s a littl...
“Hoisted shoulder-high at their first League game
they are like innocent monsters who have been years swimming
towards the...
“Until, now, hearts shrapnelled with rapture,
they break surface and are forever lost,
their minds rippling out like strea...
“In the pure flood of sound, they are scarfed with light, a voice
like the voice of God booms from the stands
Ooohh you bl...
“Hot pies and potato-crisps they will eat,
they will forswear the Demons, cling to the Saints
and behold their team going ...
And the tides of life will be the tides of the home-team’s fortunes
- the reckless proposal after the one-point win,
the w...
“They will not grow old as those from more northern States grow old,
for them it will always be three-quarter-time
with th...
“That passion persisting, like a race-memory, through the welter of seasons, enabling old -
timers by the boundary -fences...
“So that mythology may be perpetually renewed
and Chicken Smallhorn return like the maize-god
in a thousand shapes, the da...
But the dance forever the same – the elderly still
loyally crying Carn… Carn… (if feebly) unto the very end,
having seen i...
 Create a three stanza poem (3/4 lines each) explaining an
obsession of your own.
 What gives you purpose in life? It mi...
Analysis of "Life Cycle" by Bruce Dawe
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Analysis of "Life Cycle" by Bruce Dawe

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Analysis of "Life Cycle" by Bruce Dawe

  1. 1. Bruce DaweLIFE CYCLE
  2. 2.  Originated in Melbourne in 1858.  Has been played in Australia since 1915.  Australia is currently the only nation in the world where Australian rules football is played professionally.  In some regions, it is marketed as ‘AFL’ (Australian Football League).  It is also the most popular sporting league in Australia, averaging over 30,000 people per game. CONTEXT – AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL
  3. 3.  ‘Big Jim Phelan’ was a flamboyant, 114kg ruck player for the South Melbourne Australian Rules Football Club (now Sydney Swans).  In 1902, Big Jim Phelan revitalised Aussie Rules, which had been largely displaced by Rugby Union, in New South Wales.  He was a great enthusiast for the game, and has been called a football evangelist (a preacher who tries to convert others to a set of beliefs).  Why do you think Bruce Dawe has dedicated this poem to Jim Phelan? BIG JIM PHELAN FOR WHOM THE POEM IS DEDICATED
  4. 4.  Richmond Football Club is an Australian rules football club which competes in the Australian Football League (AFL).  Gracing their crest is a Tiger.  Their home field is the Melbourne Cricket Ground.  Richmond were first established in 1885.  They have won ten premierships. RICHMOND FOOTBALL CLUB
  5. 5.  “Carn”  the equivalent of saying “come on” in a thick Australian accent.  “Beribboned”  decorated with ribbons.  “Barracking”  supporting.  “Rusk”  a dry biscuit (baby food).  “Empyrean”  referring to the sky, or heaven.  “Bludger”  colloquial expression for someone who evades responsibility.  “Covenant”  a pact or agreement.  “Race-memory”  a memory shared by a whole race, shared subconsciously. GENERAL TERMINOLOGY
  6. 6.  Football is a religion. It… Follows similar rites of passage Involves ceremonial baptisms Is a life-long act of worship Is communal Does not leave us after death. Identify as many words in the poem you can that have Religious connotations. KEY IDEAS
  7. 7.  Football follows the pattern of the eternal life cycle.  Birth  Life  Death  Rebirth. 1. Go through the poem and try to identify the four stages of the life cycle in Dawe’s poem. 2. What are some key words or phrases that are linked to these stages? KEY IDEAS
  8. 8.  Australian passions will never change.  Australians possess the need for something or someone that will make their lives meaningful, bring their lives to fruition, and save them. (Traditionally, people would have found this meaning and purpose in the Church / religion)  In Victoria, Dawe insinuates that an individual’s sense of belonging is fulfilled by Australian Rules Football.  Living a full life in Australia can be compared to being a member of a sporting team – and the game being played is “life”  fairness / team work / struggle / hard work / excitement / disappointment… what else? KEY IDEAS
  9. 9. “When children are born in Victoria they are wrapped in the club-colours, laid in beribboned cots, having already begun a lifetime’s barracking”  Imagery  Born into football. Supporters from birth.  Alliteration of “club-colours”  consistent, unchanging.  Vernacular  “Barracking” – establishes setting in Australia STANZA 1
  10. 10. “Carn, they cry, Carn… feebly at first while parents playfully tussle with them for possession of a rusk: Ah, he’s a little Tiger! (And they are…)”  Alliteration  “Carn, they cry, Carn” / “parents playfully”  Vernacular of the contraction ‘Carn’  barracking, voice of fans, Australian slang.  Metaphor  “little Tiger”, a proud symbol of the club’s mascot which suggests that baby is potentially a future player.  Allusion  Tiger, mascot of Richmond team.  Ellipsis  (And they are…), confirming that they are developing tiger-like qualities.  Enjambment breaks the free-flowing rhythm of the image and mirrors the “tussle” of the game with the rusk. STANZA 2
  11. 11. “Hoisted shoulder-high at their first League game they are like innocent monsters who have been years swimming towards the daylight’s roaring empyrean”  Simile  “like innocent monsters who have been years swimming”, unbeknownst, strange and unnatural, beneath the ocean’s surface, unexposed to the wonders of the game.  Juxtaposition (contrast)  of the “innocent monsters” – and swimming in the darkness of the water, with the “daylight’s roaring empyrean”.  the muffled sounds beneath the water, contrasted with the roaring fans of a packed stadium.  Religious allusion  “empyrean” = heaven, symbolism of the water = baptism into football  compares the game to a religious ceremony.  Enjambment  emphasises the uninterrupted flow of the game – as a metaphor for the inevitable flow of life STANZA 3
  12. 12. “Until, now, hearts shrapnelled with rapture, they break surface and are forever lost, their minds rippling out like streamers”  metaphor  “hearts shrapnelled” = the very ‘hearts’ of the spectators are pierced with the joy of the game  sport is in an Australian’s blood!  Extended metaphor  “break the surface” (of the water)  Reaching the empyrean.  Religious allusion  “rapture”, moment of enlightenment, transporting from earth to heaven.  Simile  “minds rippling out like streamers”, opening up to the world, learning. Celebratory connotations and imagery of a mind opening up (learning… school… adolescence… ) STANZA 4
  13. 13. “In the pure flood of sound, they are scarfed with light, a voice like the voice of God booms from the stands Ooohh you bludger and the covenant is sealed.”  Symbolism  impact of “flood”, overwhelming… and renewing the joy of life.  Metaphor  “scarfed with light”, the light is symbolic of heightened awareness and enlightenment (becoming wise). .  Simile/Biblical allusion  the thousands of fans barracking in unison is likened to “the voice of God”  Biblical allusion  “Covenant is sealed”  child is swept up in the euphoria of the crowd, and thus, they are true disciples of the game.  Vernacular / contrast  “bludger / covenant” develops the image that the average Australian is true to his word. (covenant = bond or promise). STANZA 5
  14. 14. “Hot pies and potato-crisps they will eat, they will forswear the Demons, cling to the Saints and behold their team going up the ladder into Heaven,”  Inversion and allusion  Irony of typically Australian “hot pies and potato crisps” created by the inverted (back-to-front) syntax (sentence structure). Inversion is a common technique used in religious ceremonies and sermons.  Religious allusions   playing on the nicknames of other AFL clubs (‘Saints’ / St Kilda, and ‘Demons’ / Melbourne).  Forswear: swear not to support. A play on biblical teachings to reject evil and practise good.  They will witness their team climb the ladder to heaven (win the premiership). …  Allusion to the story of Jacob’s ladder, reaching into the skies. STANZA 6
  15. 15. And the tides of life will be the tides of the home-team’s fortunes - the reckless proposal after the one-point win, the wedding and honeymoon after the grand-final… What parallel is Bruce Dawe suggesting in this stanza? How are football and the “tides of life” linked? The repetition of the word, “after”… What does the ellipsis at the end of the stanza imply? STANZA 7
  16. 16. “They will not grow old as those from more northern States grow old, for them it will always be three-quarter-time with the scores level and the wind advantage in the final term,” The first line is a mocking allusion to the verse recited every day in every RSL club in Australia… “They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old…”  what does this suggest? Dawe, however, appropriates the words, having a dig at the “northern States” (New South Wales). What does this comparison propose with regard to the respective supporters? STANZA 8
  17. 17. “That passion persisting, like a race-memory, through the welter of seasons, enabling old - timers by the boundary -fences to dream of resurgent lions and centaur-figures from the past to replenish continually the present.”  Alliteration  “passion persisting”, passing on the enthusiasm  Connotations of “race-memory”  babies are ingrained with this knowledge so early that they believe they are born with it.  Imagery  “welter (jumble) of seasons”, passing time.  Symbolism  of “lions”, “centaur-figures” - shows past players with a sense of pride… and as being “legends”.  Based on this description, what characteristics do the past players represent? Why are they important to the “old-timers”?  What do the terms, “resurgent” and “replenish” suggest with respect to the lifecycle? STANZA 9
  18. 18. “So that mythology may be perpetually renewed and Chicken Smallhorn return like the maize-god in a thousand shapes, the dancers changing.” STANZA 10 Chicken Smallhorn was once the star of the Fitzroy team, good enough to have won the Brownlow Medal. Quick research activity: who is the ancient maize-god? Why is this allusion relevant?
  19. 19. But the dance forever the same – the elderly still loyally crying Carn… Carn… (if feebly) unto the very end, having seen in the six-foot recruit from Eaglehawk their hope of salvation. What is the significance of repeating “Carn… Carn…” and the parenthetical (if feebly) at the end of the poem? Refer to the life cycle. Who is the six-foot recruit from Eaglehawk? What are the connotations of the term “salvation”? How is the word used in this context? What is Dawe referring to? STANZA 11
  20. 20.  Create a three stanza poem (3/4 lines each) explaining an obsession of your own.  What gives you purpose in life? It might be a thing, a sport, a person, a job…  How do you feel about it? Make a list of terms that encapsulate your feelings towards it.  How does it impact on your life? Does it influence the decisions you make? Give you comfort?  Use poetic devices to illustrate what your obsession means to you. CREATIVE ACTIVITY

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