Literature Entry Week 12 + Best Entry from Weeks 7-12


Today we actually met David Malouf! He was actually standing in our lecture room! He cleared up a few things about the novel which was great- there’s really no better source to get insights from. Conversations at Curlow Creek is set in 1827, the same year that the NSW Police force was founded. Before that, law and order was acted out by the Army, but know, civilians maintained the thin blue line. At the beginning of the novel there is a lot of talk of the Bushrangers and rebellion, “the rumour was that those fellers, out there, had been raising up the blacks to help in some sort of rebellion”- p22. This is said by Langhurst, a trooper, a member of authority. Malouf explained this feeling of unease that people in authority were afraid of rebellion and they suspected the Irish of it. Rebellion is a lack of control- just consider what happened to Jed Snelling when the Troopers didn’t have complete control of the situation, “...Jed Snelling, who was stretched out on the sand with a mass of flies at his throat”- p 20. The book has a variety of angles. It raises issues of the past concerning major characters. We are mostly inside Adairs head but we can also see what the people outside the hut are saying about him. You have two perspectives of the same character. One is deeply internal and the other is an outsider’s impression of his external persona. Kersey insults him and calls him a “stickler.” Langhurst defends him in an offhanded way saying that it’s good that the prisoner has company during this time although he later admits that a man in his situation is going to be alone whether he has company or not. 

The conversation between Carney and Adair inside the hut is one of justice and criminality. It exists between a member of authority and a man in which authority is exerted upon in its most extreme form. Carney is the last survivor of the Rebel Bushranger Gang. We find out that Carney is educated enough to ask questions about justice but knot educated enough to provide himself with answers. This is where Adair comes in. He suspects that Adair knows the answers- this is given away from the start when Carney mistakes Adair for a Priest. Carney wants nothing more than answers to his questions before he dies. He tries to tell Adair his story to absolve himself from sinfulness. During his conversation with Carney, we are given the background of Adairs world, not so much the family he was brought up in, but the household he is educated in with Virgilia. This was an enlightened household where he was influenced by the thinking in Ireland, England and France. He was a child of the past, a child of revolution. Perhaps he held himself differently than other men and this may have been the reason Carney mistook him for a man of the Church.

Nikki would often say that she could see the script adapted onto the screen, that it had the beginnings of a wonderful movie, full of drama and that cinematic techniques could push this wonderful masterpiece over the edge into the transcendent. Malouf had other thoughts. He said that he didn’t want that, a play or a movie, because they did not allow you to be as inside the head of a character that a novel does. How could you express Adairs most inner thoughts that he would not share with a character? We can hear Adair question himself. This would be impossible in a play or movie. A novel allows you to be speculative and apart of someone’s questions, emotions and doubts.

People got a bit defensive when a question was raised about the books ending. Some people thought that there was enough evidence to suggest that Adair had set Carney free and that in actual fact, the hanging did not take place. Malouf stuck to his guns and said that Adair would not do that and that he was far too committed to establishing some sort of order. He illustrates two realities. There is what really happens and there is what people believe to happen such as rumour or folk story. I like the second reality because it is an alternative to the grim and legalistic world whereby Carney most likely met a choking death. The irony of it all is that this did not really happen at all for the obvious reason that this is fiction- but as MG said, sometimes fiction is more reality than truth. Who knows, it might have been true because Malouf said he was interested in the parts of history that wasn’t recorded. Maybe an event just like this took place with similar emotions and reflections, its just that they were never transcribed on paper.




Week 7 Enrtry

Judith Wright is a grand old lady of Australian Poetry. Another introduction for her would be Radical environmentalist. The fact of the matter is that no matter how hard we try, we can never grasp her brilliance in terms of words. Much like “words are not meanings for a tree” in Gum- trees Stripping, words cannot describe Wrights meaning, they would only limit her relevance and aims to something far less than intended.
There were a few things that I learnt about her life that I found rather interesting because they beat down my door of what I thought was expected of a poet. She never finished Uni. Instead she worked as a typist- but if she did finish University she would most likely would have developed into a fine Professor. However, she found Uni to be too conformist. This instantly reminded me of the way Alex Miller influenced us into looking negatively on the world of academia in the opening pages of “Journey to the Stone Country.” She is a deeply spiritual poet influenced by Islamic Mysticism, and Christianity. She often taps into the notion of human faith and the “I am better than you” ugly side of religion. She helps us to understand that if you extrapolate this mindset onto a world stage, you’ll understand why we are at war with each other.
                                

Wright is a very provocative poet. For example, she tackles issues in her poem “Age to Youth” that challenges the very notion of conventional wisdom. She is saying that perhaps love is wiser than convention and that you must respect love in order to gain wisdom. She is condoning what is beautiful about young love, those little things like a touch of the hand, so simple yet sp meaningful to the heart. She sees idealism in youth and doesn’t wish it to be knocked out. “Not to listen to the old...who tell them love’s a drink poisoned with sorrow” is her way of telling the young to stay wise in their pursuit of love and happiness and not to believe everything you hear from older people who have perhaps been hurt by love along the way, clouding their judgement. She wants young people to experience things for themselves in order to gain their own wisdom. If you love someone, you’re not going to stop because someone else has told you too. If you are hurt by love, you gain wisdom, so that next time you’ll be a little more guarded only allowing those to pass who are trustworthy and truly loving. This lesson cannot be taught, it needs to be experienced, and that is Wrights message. Why should the elderly be ordained as having more wisdom than a younger person? Where does wisdom come from? Who’s to say the youth are not wiser because they are more open to experience? And as for love itself, I feel that we should simply enjoy it when we encounter it and respect the memory of it when we lose it.

 I loved this metaphore that i found in a blog posted by John Brownlee,

070117_bike
"Awww. The perfect metaphor for young love. If you're a girl, you hurtle blindly backwards on your lover's handlebars, never quite seeing what will eventually dislodge you; if you're a guy, you just keep feverishly pedaling, desperately trying to whirl around the hard-to-avoid obstacles that will send your girlfriend flying away from you."-By John Brownlee




One of my favourite songs of young love: Teddy Geiger "For You I Will". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fGC7hkzVvc

        

 

Literature Entry Week 11


This book shows human frailty, nobody really has it set and no one is truly happy. Chapter three is where we really get into the heavy stuff in David Malouf’s “Conversations at Curlow Creek.” It is where one of the earliest conversations between Adair and Carney take place. The nature of truth, lies and obligations are discussed in depth with reference to repentance and sin. Adair is relating to Carney on a personal level- something that wasn’t a very common practice of the troopers in the 1800’s. The bigger questions of life are dramatically raised on a philosophical level such as, what is truth? In class, we read a passage starting a few pages after chapter 3 on page 52, starting, “What could he answer? That it had been imposed upon him too...”

One of the girls in my class read it aloud and found it very hard to follow. The phrase includes one of Malouf’s famous and long sentences. It almost seems like a balanced stream of consciousness that seems to flow from his head onto the page in a way that communicates something special to the reader. Adair cannot say all these thoughts to Carney, but his life and thoughts are fed to us through these impressions, “So much space, so much distance under the dry air, has opened his eyes to the long view, as even the Plains of Poland, in the years he served there, had not, since these distances were empty...” His fragmented yet fluid sentences sort of say that life isn’t just about:

·        this happened  

·        then this happened

·         then this happened.

Life is far more about how “what happens next?” is influenced by events of the past in that they motivate and effect what happens in the future; therefore everything should be connected in one long sentence. Life’s messy, and the direction of our lives is winding and complicated - a life experience shouldn’t be neatly separated into short paragraphs of terse sentences.

Literature Entry Week 10


In the tutorial this week we went through the mysteries of the first few pages of David Malouf's "Conversations at Curlow Creek". Before this class I had read only the first chapter and I couldn’t really get my head around Malouf’s amazing use of language and his unconventional style. While I was reading the chapter on the bus I realized I couldn’t half concentrate on the words I was reading and half focus my energies on the what was passing by me out the window- if I did, I found I was totally lost and had missed the intrinsic meaning hidden deep within the long constructed descriptive phrases. At first I didn’t know what to think; but as a read on and became more affiliated with Malouf’s technique, and became more trusting of his written hand and its attempt to make me see something truly amazing- and anyway, what’s the point of reading something if it doesn’t demand your full attention?


In the first few pages we are introduced to the main character Adair; we know him to be the main character because we are inside his head. We can hear his inner most thoughts, the thoughts he does not speak. We are also introduced to Carney- a paddy and criminal- who at first only relates to Adair in the terms of that they are both Irish and that he had falsely hoped that he was a priest; but through the course of the night, they learn a lot more about each other and have conversations so deep that they reach almost an enlightened level of thinking that redefines the boundaries and relationship between law enforcer and law breaker.

Malouf has created a great opening setting for the novel, full of suspense and questions that keep the reader interested and brimmed with burning questions. We want to know what Carney has done. We want to know why Adair is so ponderous in his demeanour. We want to know what has happened to both of these characters before we meet them in the smelling and confined hut.

It is a tense book from the beginning. Adair is alone in a dark room with the man he has to send to death in the morning. There are no distractions in that dark little room, no flickering lights to shift the focus onto something else or provide a warm sense of comfort, it is a confronting reality that Adair has to experience and that we have to witness.  

I like the book so far and am eager to found out what happens next. I’m also eager about having the opportunity to understand the inner motives of David Malouf’s mind when he comes to visit in a couple of weeks.

My group performed our scene for the class in this week’s lecture. I think the performance went well, however in attempt to spice up and modernize the scene we changed the song from “I Wonder Whose Kissing Her Now” by Bobby Darrin to “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer.  Either way, I was glad to bring Sam to life in front of an audience because he is such a wild and unconfined character with the trickery he plays on the police guards who monitor him and his love/ hate relationship with his own reflection. We rallied audience involvement and participation with the bribery of lollies- entertainment and satisfaction for all!

 http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=toreI6H90Uw 


 http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=G5CWKxKMcLA

 

     


Literature Entry- Week 9

My Drama group are going to perform part of How Does Your Garden Grow? by Jim McNeil in a couple of weeks.  I am playing the character of Sam, a prisoner who talks to himself and causes mischief amongst the police guards. He is loud and quite forward in his manner. His voice has a very confronting tone, thick with Australian connotations. He slurs his words together, e.g. “How are you going?” turns into “How yer garn?” He also swears a lot- making him a fun character to portray onstage.
I thought it would be worthwhile to get some background knowledge of McNeil himself. Born in Melbourne in 1935, he lived through war, carried his love of reading through to adulthood and had affairs with Brothel Madams. I found it interesting that he wrote his best works in Parramatta jail while serving a 17 year sentence for armed robbery.


Three months after his release in 1974 he married the actress named Robyn Nevin, who had played the only female role in the Nimrod production of How Does Your Garden Grow?. The marriage only lasted two years. His writing career reached its highest point in 1975 when How Does Your Garden Grow? won the Australian Writers' Guild award for the most outstanding script in any category. Unfortunately, it seemed that the discipline of Jail life was actually what persuaded and pushed him to write. In Jail, he needed to write, there wasn’t much else to do. When he was a free man, it seemed that his need to write wasn’t as great in the outside world. He turned to the bottle and
died of alcohol poisoning in St Vincent's Hospital in 1982.

In our lecture this week we got to see how other groups brought their plays to life on stage. We saw performances of A Hard God by Peter Kenna and Coralie Lansdowne Says No by Alex Buzo.
I wasn’t really taken by Buzo’s play Coralie Lansdowne Says No. It is the story of a woman's struggle to find herself in a highly material world with its many social values. It discusses themes of emotional security and social progress. From what I saw on Wednesday, it seemed like a lot of man proposing to woman coupled with rejection, anger and swearing.
 A Hard God is about the Cassidy family. They are a strictly Irish- Catholic family. Throughout the play you are able to see the different ways that religion affects the characters. I was most taken by the play’s sub- plot where the two of the younger characters named Joe and Jack develop a relationship for each other somewhat deeper than friendship. I remember Caitlin and Nicole performed the scene outside the church that perfectly illustrates a way in which the characters view religion. One seeks the comfort and forgiveness of religion to absolve his shame of the relationship while the other rejects the religion he has grown up with, because it condemns their affections. Caitlin and Nicole did a really good performance. The angst and tension of the characters was seen so obviously through their pauses, shuffling of the feet and downward glances. Nicole played Jack who tries to leave for Coffs Harbour to escape his attraction to Joe- played by Caitlin. Jack tries to say his goodbyes to Joe but Joe insists that he’ll follow, and if Jack doesn’t let him, he threatens to leave the Catholic Youth Organization. It is a heartbreaking scene of forbidden and unrequited love that almost made me want to cry!

Literature Entry- Week 7

Judith Wright is a grand old lady of Australian Poetry. Another introduction for her would be Radical environmentalist. The fact of the matter is that no matter how hard we try, we can never grasp her brilliance in terms of words. Much like “words are not meanings for a tree” in Gum- trees Stripping, words cannot describe Wrights meaning, they would only limit her relevance and aims to something far less than intended.
There were a few things that I learnt about her life that I found rather interesting because they beat down my door of what I thought was expected of a poet. She never finished Uni. Instead she worked as a typist- but if she did finish University she would most likely would have developed into a fine Professor. However, she found Uni to be too conformist. This instantly reminded me of the way Alex Miller influenced us into looking negatively on the world of academia in the opening pages of “Journey to the Stone Country.” She is a deeply spiritual poet influenced by Islamic Mysticism, and Christianity. She often taps into the notion of human faith and the “I am better than you” ugly side of religion. She helps us to understand that if you extrapolate this mindset onto a world stage, you’ll understand why we are at war with each other.
                                

Wright is a very provocative poet. For example, she tackles issues in her poem “Age to Youth” that challenges the very notion of conventional wisdom. She is saying that perhaps love is wiser than convention and that you must respect love in order to gain wisdom. She is condoning what is beautiful about young love, those little things like a touch of the hand, so simple yet sp meaningful to the heart. She sees idealism in youth and doesn’t wish it to be knocked out. “Not to listen to the old...who tell them love’s a drink poisoned with sorrow” is her way of telling the young to stay wise in their pursuit of love and happiness and not to believe everything you hear from older people who have perhaps been hurt by love along the way, clouding their judgement. She wants young people to experience things for themselves in order to gain their own wisdom. If you love someone, you’re not going to stop because someone else has told you too. If you are hurt by love, you gain wisdom, so that next time you’ll be a little more guarded only allowing those to pass who are trustworthy and truly loving. This lesson cannot be taught, it needs to be experienced, and that is Wrights message. Why should the elderly be ordained as having more wisdom than a younger person? Where does wisdom come from? Who’s to say the youth are not wiser because they are more open to experience? And as for love itself, I feel that we should simply enjoy it when we encounter it and respect the memory of it when we lose it.
 I loved this metaphore that i found in a blog posted by John Brownlee,

070117_bike
"Awww. The perfect metaphor for young love. If you're a girl, you hurtle blindly backwards on your lover's handlebars, never quite seeing what will eventually dislodge you; if you're a guy, you just keep feverishly pedaling, desperately trying to whirl around the hard-to-avoid obstacles that will send your girlfriend flying away from you."-By John Brownlee




One of my favourite songs of young love: Teddy Geiger "For You I Will". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fGC7hkzVvc

        


Week 8 live Journal Entry


Judith Wright really expresses a sort of emotional toughness. She talks of death a lot, but this is in no way a negative thing; I mean death is a part of life. Wright’s poetry blesses us with a different kind of inner view allowing us perhaps to rethink death. This week in our lecture MG was talking about how we as humans, sometimes tend to think a little too highly of ourselves in terms of where we stand within our environment. We draw towards human exceptionalism in that we think we are the most important creatures on earth and nothing else really matters as much. Judith Wright, as an environmentalist who obviously cares for nature, wholeheartedly rejects this idea. She often points out that although we are cunning with our minds; our minds in fact tend to cut us off from the rest of the world. This prevents us from experiencing that amazing sense of oneness with nature that only those in tune with themselves as a part of nature and not its controller, can ever truthfully experience. Our minds are great but they’re destructive. We need to live like the “Birds” as Wright would have it.


 

This also relates to that Movie MG mentioned “Into the Silence.” It is a documentary of life inside a French Monastery. The monks are of a silent order. It raises many questions such as, does one need words to communicate with another? Can you be an active member of society when you are completely silent? If you come to the realization that the answer to both these questions is “yes” then perhaps you are on your way to also realizing that with sometimes, words just get in the way. These monks also meditate. If in life we can find the equivalent of inner stillness that this can perhaps lead us to the acceptance of the great stillness of death.


http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s1910423.htm

I think the poem “Rockpool” best depicts the issues I am trying to explain. We have to see ourselves as being in the rockpool, part of the 'the scuttle, the crouch' and being 'eaten by seaworms'. By doing this we are accepting death as a part of our life.'Accept it? Gad, madam, you had better.' We need to get rid of the whole notion of human exceptionaliam, i mean we are still part of the ecological food chain aren’t we? Their are bigger things out there than us...


 

Week 6 Entry + My Best Entry from Weeks 1- 6

This week Nikki divided us into groups to look at different poems of twentieth century Australia. Our group got to look at Michael Dransfields’ “Pas de Deux for Lovers” p 270. The poem, while short and sweet, was full of the complexity of emotions that surely reside within the hearts of us all. It has two distinct sections. The first section says things like “morning ought not to be complex” and “so simple.” It gives the reader an impression of an easygoing type of person not bent on the constraints of a relationship nor the commitments that it entails. The second section is almost a polar opposite of this view of thinking. The poems progression into the second section is signified by the single word “yet”. This word is place singularly on its own line suggesting a pause, a moment of thought whereby the character obviously changes his mind realizing that perhaps things aren’t so simple. The poem is about a relationship. Perhaps this poem is about a one night stand and the man thinks about how easy it would be to slip away while the girl still sleeps. The second section of the poem has the man look upon the girl, noticing the gold of her hair. It is at this point where things become more complex and he asks himself “how then shall I leave?” Somebody in the class suggested that perhaps this poem is not about a one night stand at all, but perhaps about a couple who have been in a long relationship. He wants to leave her but he stays because he is drawn to the comforts of her ongoing beauty, and also it would be too hard for him to break her hear and start fresh with a new woman. The language of the poem has a simple tone that talks of love in a matter-of-fact-way and yet has glimpses of the transcendent, almost a sense of a deeper, less superficial view of what love can truly mean and the effect it can have over a person. I enjoyed this poem very much. It had secret messages hidden within it such as the meaning behind the phrase “Day is so deep already with involvement”. This is a beautiful notion suggesting that just to wake up next to someone signifies a deep kind of connection and involvement that completes that soul and prolongs the heart.

240
Also in our lecture, we actually had a great little discussion about why we write poetry. Based on my own experience I write poetry for a variety of reasons, sometimes it’s to express something that’s beyond ordinary words or sometimes it’s to share a special moment. Last semester I kept getting frustrated because even though poetry is English words on a page, I could not understand it for the life of me what was actually being said. I now understand that it is not just ordinary words on a page, it is remarkable poetic language expressing something that is far beyond the constraints of normal words, it’s something bigger than ordinary language. It is the expression of some intense source of human experience.
We also looked at early day poet Christopher Brennan. Keeping in mind the reasons I like to write poetry I wrote these four lines in the style of Brennan hoping to capture the experience of rain and the special moment of seeing a raindrop splash:
Rain from the sky, rain splashes the hillside,
and rain washes bare the tortured ground.
Heavy beads like sweat from heat into the river ride,
until they halt amongst the mud, no further will they bound.    

Also, this is the URL for my best entry from weeks one to six:

http://melissa-st.livejournal.com/4681.html

In our tutorial we looked at Judith Wrights “A Document” page 179. The poem is of a person recounting their experience of reluctantly selling a forest that was given to him, passed down from generation to generation perhaps, through his family. The forest is to be cut down for development and more specifically, the tree- wood would go into bomber planes for WW2. The selling of the forest is not done lightly; it is done with a great deal of thought and pain. The emotional struggle of such a decision is emphasised through Wrights use of repetition, “I signed, but still uneasily...remember that I signed uneasily...I sold the coachwood forest in my name. Both had been given me...both name and woodland had been given me.” The character of the poem obviously finds it hard to come to terms with the fact that with his name, his signature, he sells the forest. Both things that were given to him, his name and his forest he has sullied. Wright also personifies the forest. This is perhaps to acknowledge a deeper betrayal of humanity, or to represent the forest as Kin who is being handed over to the enemy, “a flesh- pink pliant wood...” The poem has an uneasy feel whereby the character is arguing within himself, asking the reader why do I have the right to sell something hundreds of years older than myself? Did a tree mature for hundreds of years merely to meet hurried axes? I enjoyed this poem as it really put humanity and nature into perspective. Humans are represented in a way that makes us realize our own weaknesses. 

Also, we were given a short answer question about Alex Millers “Journey to the Stone Country.”
Does Miller allow us to experience what he describes in the sentence “Bo was speaking of another reality”? – 262. Here are some of the ideas I had:
  • The reality Bo was speaking of is the life Annabelle grew up in, with its racial differences, yet she was oblivious to its depths because of her young age and naivety. She never met Grandma Rennie and she can’t remember her young life with Bo, it was more dreamlike to her than some sort of reality.
  • Miller links the reader closely to Annabelle from the beginning through her experiences. We learn things as she does. We’re linked to the reality she slowly remembers and explores. We learn of the other reality through Annabelle’s progression into the future.
  • With Millers introduction of the Bigges, we become aware of just how blurred the line between legend and reality really is. The more we begin to learn of the truth, the less abstract things seem, “There were all kinds of rumours about what really happened...” – p252.                                                          
  • Through Bo’s storytelling we learn of hidden and secret realities unknown to Annabelle and in fact even to Bo until he actually finds himself reflecting on the past.   
Now, the most exciting part of the week was definitely our visit to the Art Gallery of NSW. I’ve been there many times before, a couple of times to see the amazing Art Express Exhibition and other times for HSC Art to get our heads around the concept of portrait paintings or Sculpture work. This visit was all about Works that somehow reflected the Australian landscape, most obviously through subject matter but as well as through the artist attitude or the overall mood of the work itself. The highlight if the visit was defiantly Lin Onus’ “Fruit Bats” (1991). It boldly declared the strong continuance of Aboriginal presence within a developing land.  The work consisted of fibreglass sculptures of fruit bats, featuring rrark on their tightly wrapped wings, a type of traditional cross hatching design, hanging from a Hills Hoist clothesline. It is the epitome of the co-existent and strained relationship between what is traditional to the land and what can be summed up as an urban eye-sore invasion. I enjoyed the work with the eyes of a hundred bats staring outwards into mine spreading a message of undying nature that would resist the attempts of the man to either attempts to destroy it or fill it up with concrete, machinery, and barbed wire. 

  

          




Literature Entry- Week 5

Wow, I must say that I am really enjoying poetry this semester. It might be the raw, edginess of the Australian Poets or perhaps maybe I am coming to terms with the fact that poetry is not just fancy words on a page, it is emotional glimpses into the authors imagination; sometimes you get a good glimpse and it makes sense, other times you don’t, but you are still able to draw some sort of meaning from the remarkable imagery.
This week we looked at Kate Llewellyns’ poem Finished. The poem is about an ended relationship whereby the character is directly talking to her ex- lover. Llewellyn makes it seem as if the reader is actually the ex- lover, you are the wrong-doer who has caused the character to feel pain, hurt and the pangs of a failed love. This direct conversation is emphasised through repetition, “there’ll be no more hits across the mouth love... there’ll be no more smoking listening to you curse love.” At the poems beginning the character seems truly heartbroken, reminiscing the good times, time of passion and true love. She seems genuinely upset that “there’ll be no more lying on your shoulder love.” But as the poem progresses, she refers to the violent times where she was abused physically and verbally. This tells the reader that this heartbroken women is slowly realizing that perhaps it is a positive thing that the relationship is over considering how badly mistreated she was. This poem has a loose resemblance to Annabelle and Steven’s relationship in Journey to the Stone Country. Although Steven never abused Annabelle verbally or physically, it is fair to say that he did, to some degree, abuse her trust when he cheated on her with one of his students. The character in Llewellyns poem slowly grows stronger through the poems progression realizing that she is better off out of such a relationship, and this is very similar to Millers character Annabelle. In the beginning of the story Annabelle flees the life she has lived for so long, terrified of Steven, scared that she would have to face him. However, when Steven calls her mobile when she is with Bo, there is a shivering confidence to her voice. She knows what he wants and she does not want to have any part of it. She seems very much in control of her own life again, she is not Steven wife who was cheated on, she is her own person ending what is wrong and perusing something greater.
We also looked at the passage in Millers Journey to the Stone Country,
“The whole story is in that photograph...”
The photo was of Grandma Rennie, Bo’s white father Iain Ban Rennie, Louis Beck, three Bigges women and Grandma Rennie’s sister, May the maid. The picture showed Annabelle and Bo’s families together but it didn’t explain how they came to be. It gave away clues about Mays jealousy towards her sister having such an authoritative stance within this family. This helps explain Mays later actions of taking Verbena for herself and her son Jude Horrie. The picture also shows Iain Rennie looking sideways at Bo’s Grandmother. He is obviously taken by her, distracted by her beauty, admiring her in a loving way. Apart from that, the photo doesn’t explain the history between Louis Beck, the photographer George Bigges and Grandma Rennie, the last Stone Woman. Lois Beck and George Bigges murdered Grandma Rennie’s people. It is revealed later by Panya that her and Bo’s grandmother sung a curse on Lois Beck and George Bigges. Panya believed that their curse caused them to hear the cries of the children they murdered never allowing them to be free of torment. Panya said that her and Bo’s Grandmother were the reason that Annabelle’s Grandad lost his mind and became nothing but a shell, a deeply tormented halfwit. I believe that later on Grandma Rennie would have moved on from the bitterness that Panya still felt seeing as she married a white man and loved him with all her heart, unable to remarry after his death, to any man, black or white. She must have reached a stage of forgiveness that Bo was later trying to convince Arner to reach. He did not want Arner to grow up with the bitterness of Panya, sitting alone in her house, waiting for an apology that could never come because those that were responaible were now dead. Bo wanted Arner to be more like the Last of the Stone women, forgiving, able to move forward.

Literature Entry Week 4

In our tutorial we looked at Judith Wrights “A Document” page 179. The poem is of a person recounting their experience of reluctantly selling a forest that was given to him, passed down from generation to generation perhaps, through his family. The forest is to be cut down for development and more specifically, the tree- wood would go into bomber planes for WW2. The selling of the forest is not done lightly; it is done with a great deal of thought and pain. The emotional struggle of such a decision is emphasised through Wrights use of repetition, “I signed, but still uneasily...remember that I signed uneasily...I sold the coachwood forest in my name. Both had been given me...both name and woodland had been given me.” The character of the poem obviously finds it hard to come to terms with the fact that with his name, his signature, he sells the forest. Both things that were given to him, his name and his forest he has sullied. Wright also personifies the forest. This is perhaps to acknowledge a deeper betrayal of humanity, or to represent the forest as Kin who is being handed over to the enemy, “a flesh- pink pliant wood...” The poem has an uneasy feel whereby the character is arguing within himself, asking the reader why do I have the right to sell something hundreds of years older than myself? Did a tree mature for hundreds of years merely to meet hurried axes? I enjoyed this poem as it really put humanity and nature into perspective. Humans are represented in a way that makes us realize our own weaknesses. 

Also, we were given a short answer question about Alex Millers “Journey to the Stone Country.”
Does Miller allow us to experience what he describes in the sentence “Bo was speaking of another reality”? – 262. Here are some of the ideas I had:
  • The reality Bo was speaking of is the life Annabelle grew up in, with its racial differences, yet she was oblivious to its depths because of her young age and naivety. She never met Grandma Rennie and she can’t remember her young life with Bo, it was more dreamlike to her than some sort of reality.
  • Miller links the reader closely to Annabelle from the beginning through her experiences. We learn things as she does. We’re linked to the reality she slowly remembers and explores. We learn of the other reality through Annabelle’s progression into the future.
  • With Millers introduction of the Bigges, we become aware of just how blurred the line between legend and reality really is. The more we begin to learn of the truth, the less abstract things seem, “There were all kinds of rumours about what really happened...” – p252.                                                          
  • Through Bo’s storytelling we learn of hidden and secret realities unknown to Annabelle and in fact even to Bo until he actually finds himself reflecting on the past.   
Now, the most exciting part of the week was definitely our visit to the Art Gallery of NSW. I’ve been there many times before, a couple of times to see the amazing Art Express Exhibition and other times for HSC Art to get our heads around the concept of portrait paintings or Sculpture work. This visit was all about Works that somehow reflected the Australian landscape, most obviously through subject matter but as well as through the artist attitude or the overall mood of the work itself. The highlight if the visit was defiantly Lin Onus’ “Fruit Bats” (1991). It boldly declared the strong continuance of Aboriginal presence within a developing land.  The work consisted of fibreglass sculptures of fruit bats, featuring rrark on their tightly wrapped wings, a type of traditional cross hatching design, hanging from a Hills Hoist clothesline. It is the epitome of the co-existent and strained relationship between what is traditional to the land and what can be summed up as an urban eye-sore invasion. I enjoyed the work with the eyes of a hundred bats staring outwards into mine spreading a message of undying nature that would resist the attempts of the man to either attempts to destroy it or fill it up with concrete, machinery, and barbed wire. 

  

          

Literature Entry- Week 3

 Hopefully the in-class writing Exercise went well this week. I had fun with the question. You were really left to your own thinking to bring out what you felt was most important in expressing the attitudes towards the landscapes in both pieces of work. Anyway, after that we focused purely on Alex Millers’ Journey to the Stone Country. 

Alex Miller was born in London. His mother was Irish and his father was Scottish. He came to Australia when he was 17 and worked at a cattle station. I’ve always felt that perhaps if you were not born in Australia you’d be less inclined to take the wonders of the landscape for granted. This holds true for Miller. His admiration for the land shines through his work bringing into focus themes that really underpin Australian literature and culture.

 

The opening chapter of the book really gives the university and well educated men of the world a thrashing. Although when Miller first came to Australia he was a rugged bush- man, he later enrolled at Melbourne University where he studied history and English. He actually taints the Academia world which he is strongly apart of. By throwing a sceptical light on the superior world of Education he is really perplexing his readers. Many would associate with the world of Steven, Annabelle’s' husband, with his deadlines, papers and criteria. He is reduced to nothing more than a horny old man, who cheats on his wife with one of his own students. The reader is forced to relate more acceptably to Annabelle, the betrayed, the one with the wispy courage to elope to Townsville. The reader is relating to a fragile yet determined leading character. Alex Miller is looking very hard on the world in which Annabelle comes from then he delves into a re- appreciation for the land in which she grew up. Annabelle’s journey is one of possible reconciliation looking towards a possible future for two cultures that haven’t been able to see eye to eye for over 200 years.
Millers’ book is littered with both landscapes of wonder, mystery and raw beauty as well as lands tainted by farming, mining and overuse.  This reflect s the books central themes of:
  • Desecration of the landscape
  • Purifying the landscape
  • The relationship between the landscape and human emotion

"Stone Country : Karulkiyalu ngurra. Upper western NSW. Gundabooka is one stop of many that Baiame made when creating this country. In the old days the people would travel on foot along creek lines from place to place. Recording made in rock overhang, on the side of the creek bed/gorge. Light wind gusts blowing along the gorge." Asia- Pacific Field Recording Forum. Posted on Saturday, December 1, 2007. Acessed on 15/08/08.





I’m enjoying the book so far, and hopefully leading up to the books end, I will come to the realization that the Stone Country is not just a geographical location on the map, but that it is perhaps a mythical place within all of us full that gives shape to our whole experience of life.