My two best posts-sem 2 2007-
- S4 Week 9 Orwell
- Virginia Woolf
My two best posts-sem 2 2007-
Anissa, your journal has had the power to inspire me yet again.
I am here nodding my head as I read through your post. I too believe that women are women’s main enemy. We put on friendly faces but spend the majority of time judging each other.
My friend has just pulled out of a mothers group for the comments and pressure put upon her when she stopped breast feeding her baby at 5 months and decided to go back to work a few days a week.
One woman actually asked her “Are you that hard up?”.
My cousin works full-time, her husband stays at home with their infant son. The older women in my family talk about how she does nothing to help out at home, how she’s lazy. Yet if she was at home/not work and he got home from work after 6 each night and would rather spend a few hours with his son rather then vacuum, I’m sure he would be applauded.
Julia Gillard’s latest hair-style, or the fact that she’s single and childless gets more media attention then the political ideals that she stands for.
I disagree with your thoughts on sex being just an exchange of power and bodily fluids. Sex can be more then that, it can be about giving, sharing, intimacy, closeness, an understanding; the physical action of illustrating your love for another person.
A complete selflessness.
A greater empathy is needed in all our human interactions.
We as women need to accept each other before we can gain an equality of respect in a man’s world.
I am interested in how many of us in class feel that Orwell had no choice but to shoot the elephant in the story. I feel that he did, but he sucuumed to the pressure of expectation from the people. Unlike Orwell’s Winston who endured weeks, months of horendous torture before he betrayed his own sense of truth and love for Julia, Orwell himself caved in to an expectation of taunts and a sense of disregard.
The actual description of the elephant being shot and dying slowly is traumatic, it definatly leaves a strong impression. When I was 12, at a property a couple of hours outside of Broken Hill, I saw a Bull being shot in order to be buthchered and eaten. The bull only fell down after 8 bullets were shot into his body, then a final shot between his eyes killed him. Watching him run, then stagger and finally fall while being shot so many times was very unerving. I understood that he was being killed for food, but the bulls own tenacity and refusal to be betten, and the shooters exasperation and mounting anxiety made the situation traumatic for me.
Because of this experience reading “Shooting an Elephant” took on an extra level of visual association.
Franz Marc (1880-1916): Elephant (Elefant), 1907, chalk, Kunsthalle, Hamburg.
For me the most essential insight of Orwell’s 1984 was the realisation of the power that language has to control and convince groups of people. Individually Winston fights within himself to retain elements of truth and pure emotion, while the world and those around him becomes more and more condensed, losing all sense of emotion as the words are lost to them. Without an understanding of a feeling, a word to categorise its meaning and affect on our existence how can it really exist at all?
The main part of this insight that resonated with me is how the control of language can and is used as a method of control in our current time. Are newspaper headlines today any more honest then those produced by the Ministry of Truth?
Consider the power of media mogul Rupert Murdoch; to what extent is the truth altered- or even not reported on, based on the ideals of one man?
I have become more aware of groups of language that exist in our society. The language of sales for instance- say skincare: smooth, soft, gentle, clear, fresh, invigorating, rejuvenating, silky, beautiful, gorgeous, hydrated, moist, plump etc.
The language is designed to entice, to create a desire to experience the effects of the product-to sell.
There are specific languages for politics, religions, academia, the defence forces etc.
The writer out of the three listed that has most played on my mind over the last few weeks has been Virginia Woolf. We talked in our tute about “Modern Fiction” p2087, with particular regard to the idea of casting all else aside and forcing to the forefront your own creative path. There is no time for the mundane, no time for the battles and the chores of the everyday. Put your own self and your art/work first and foremost.
Initially I didn’t value Woolf’s thoughts on this. Thoughts that are again mirrored in “The Mark on the Wall” p 2082 when she says “I want to think quietly, calmly, spaciously, never to be interrupted, never to have to rise from my chair, to slip easily from one thing to another, without any sense of hostility, or obstacle.” I was slightly annoyed at her for seemingly trying to get out of the work that is part of maintaining a clean, healthy and organised way of life. Also I felt that she was encouraging selfishness, suggesting perhaps that taking time to love and care for one another and be selfless at the benefit of others was wrong. I don’t agree with her ideas here. I also found myself realising that certain connections of knowledge and understanding often come to me when I am doing something else, like driving or washing up, sweeping the floor etc. Things that become to a certain extent automatic and allow for you to be calm and open to thinking more deeply BUT still get the work done. So I thought she was a bit pathetic, however, whilst I was driving this afternoon my mind took my thoughts to another level.
The band Block Party was playing on the radio, they have had a lot of airplay recently on Triple J, partly because they just toured, and I like their music very much, but I don’t have any myself. I actually started thinking about how if I was 17,18 or 19 now Block Party would have had a great effect on me, as in I feel I connect with the music, but if I was younger, it could have been a really defining influence and accompanying soundtrack to my life. Why though? Why not now and why have I not even bought their recent album. Realisation, I’m too busy with other things. I’m too distracted by so many other so called essential elements of my life to allow myself to take the time, as you do at a younger age, to build a much deeper and more ‘truthful’ understanding and ultimate connection with art and music in particular.
I have realised that I am going through life making these partial connections, developing these partial understandings.
Perhaps there is something to Woolf’s ‘selfishness’ after all.
I find the emptiness of industrial areas on a Sunday afternoons haunting. The often ramshackle sheds and buildings crammed together. Oil stained cement, dirty faded paint, sign written 30 years ago smearing the landscape. Pieces of rusted iron barely holding on to the roofs they are meant to cover. The smell of diesel, of oil, of dried sweat, aged over years and the many apprentices long moved on.
The weekend uselessness of the place, its fearful desolation. Coke cans and burger wrappers kicking along in the wind, kicking around the corners into edges dirty with dust and stones.
There is eeriness about areas like this, and for me a sense of foreboding. A place as a kid I would imagine you would be warned against playing around for the danger of strange characters lurking. Big bully kids looking for their next victim or creepy, sinister men looking for the same.
I will purposely go out of my way to avoid driving through industrial areas, on any day of the week, and go to great pains to pass on chores involving using these areas. I find the landscape depressing, hostile and ominous.
Tamara’s entry resinated with me. Gerald Manley Hopkins’s poems have sort of snuck into my consciousness also.
“However, I believe that this is the first time that I have truly reflected on the words of the poem and the beauty that they are able to convey. Sounds contrived perhaps, but as I read over the first two lines I can feel the words flowing through me, just as they describe the breeze and light that flows through the cages created by the branches” Tamara
His poems do seem to flow through you like a breeze. ‘Binsey Poplars’p1519 has some lovely imagery but it is the way that
Over the first two weeks of class for this semester the poem that has left the greatest impression on me is ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ (It is sweet and decorous to die for one’s country) by Wilfred Owen p1974. I have found myself thinking about it several times over the past two weeks for a few different reasons and ways.
The very direct and shocking language, and the portrayal of the soldier’s terrible, painful breathless death is in opposition to the poem’s title which is an example of the type of propaganda, and the general social belief that was going on at the time. In fact this sort of propaganda still goes on. Anyone who has been to an ANZAC dawn service at an Army Barracks would have experienced this. I feel from talking with many service people that the majority of them are aware of the irony that the inbuilt system-the blanket honouring of tradition and ones country, presents, yet they still believe in the value of protecting their country and those they love. This is expressed in Rupert Brooke’s ‘The Soldier’ p1954, the language being accessible and beautiful presents the reader with a much more romanticised view of dying for one’s country.
Last week I was at an army barracks waiting for my husband, who is a soldier. There was a poster displayed in an office window.
“Journalists didn’t give you freedom of speech, soldiers did.
Politicians didn’t give you democracy, soldiers did.”
There were a couple more with the same type of sentiment that I can’t recall.
My husband walked over to me and said “What’s that, a bit of grunt (infantry soldier) propaganda?”
So he, like the majority of service people are aware of the way language is used to coerce and mould in the Defence Forces. And he, like the majority of service people are part of these services not because they desire to kill, maim or torture enemy soldiers and innocent civilians but because they actually want to help people, because they want to be a part of something that helps to protect the innocent and the oppressed. Thankfully the Australian Defence Force’s are engaged primarily in situations where they can do this, with dignity and respect for the people they protect.
In saying all that there are some complete dickheads about, unfortunately for the Defence Force’s these are the people that make good news headlines, and create a bad image of the group as a whole.
This is my husband Rohin leaving for deployment recently in The Soloman Islands
- Anna in the Tropics
- Timely poem
- Renee's Coketown
This is a print series that I did last semester based on the poem Brigalow Country from Seven Songs from a Journey by Judith Wright.
I was so inspired by Wrights emotive relationship with the Australian landscape and the spiritual essense of the country.
When the metal-blue moon
plays tunes on the hut-roof,
and the long slope darkens
with its brigalow tribe,
then Margery dances,
awkward as an emu-
dances for the useless
coin of the moon.
Haunted and alone
with the tribe of the brigalows,
their steel-coloured leaves
as curved as a skinning-knife,
her sidelong eye
as queer as the moonlight,
to the singing of the dingoes.
Living lost and lonely
with the tribe of the brigalows,
don’t want to stay
but never can go.
Never get no money
For when I go hungry,
never get no kisses
for when I feel sad-
rooted like the brigalows
until I’m dead.
When the bright tin moon
plays tunes on the hut-roof
in her long pale hair.
and the tribe of the brigalows
drop their shadows
like still black water,
and watch her there.