Remember man from dust you come and to dust you shall return. This is a central idea of Bruce Dawe's work; no matter mow many materialistic items we acquire and consume, we all end up in the same place. Dawe's poems are a recollection on the world and issues around him. His aim was to depict the social problems concerning the common Australian suburban resident. This is evident through his mocking approach to these issues.
Bruce Dawe's work, Enter without so much as knocking and Americanized are poems that are critical of consumerism in the modern world. Enter without so much as knocking is a story of one man's life from birth until after death, and is a highly satirical look at modern society and its materialism. Similarly, Americanized is written in a predominantly bitter and ironic tone. However it is not only found in poetry and the eyes of an antagonistic old man, that, we notice consumerism in our own society. If we take a look at advertisements and television what better way to get into the public's mind that right in their own homes, when they are their most vulnerable? While questioning television lets take a look at music, for instance we drive along every day singing happily to our favourite tunes, but what really is the message being sent by such inconspicuous mediums? Dawe sarcastically attacks the way in which people have been manipulated by the appeal of consumerism. He tries to warn us of the fact that we have abandoned our ethics and values in search of a more fulfilled and enriched life, which is manifested by an obsession with consumer products.
But once more he considers the influence of consumerism on our ideas of what are acceptable attitudes. These attitudes are imposed by the constant bombardment of "things can be better, u must strive harder, use this and you will feel swell" take a look at the Mentos add for example, .".. with Mentos, fresh and full of life" id like to ask you how long will it be till we start to make up acronyms for phrases like "fresh and full of life" I can see it now, as I'm sure Dawe can, "Mentos, FAFOL" or once more" I'm feeling FAFOL now I've had my Mentos, how about u?" but we cant forget the smug look in the actors faces it wouldn't be the same without that cheesy grin we all know so well. What Dawe is afraid of is that one day, at this rate, maybe those cheesy faces wont seem so cheesy anymore, maybe one day, people really will feel fresh and full of life, just from sucking on a bit of sugar and mint. Maybe one-day people will rely on this to feel fresh and full of life, instead of the feeling when we are totally breath taken on a beautiful day. One of those days where u walk out side and think for a moment you " re in heaven.
Maybe one-day people will not even recognise this as being lively. Dawe's warning is clearly presented by his depiction of characters whom have been corrupted by money and the items and gratification that it brings us, in a society that thrives on money and uses it, as a very important and powerful weapon in the struggle for survival. In Americanized, Dawe uses a parody of Renee Descartes quote " I think therefor I am." Instead Dawe says "I think young, think big, therefor I am." This is supposed to be the philosophy off consumerism. This is that producers of consumer items encourage people to be "big spenders" on things they really do not need. Its no surprise that Dawe is alarmed about the present situation, it is all around us. Even in such inconspicuous mediums like music.
A popular band named Incubus is also concerned with consumerism. Take a look at their song Miss Bliss, it includes lines such as I've seen a place not far away. Where people are individuals. And every car has a phone. Or "I've got a new 'Rolls's o why can't I take you home?" Your dubbed insane when you try to speak your mind, in your own way. And the one that really got me: I suggest we learn to love our selves before it's made illegal.
What lengths will we go to for this manifestation of a perfect world? So perhaps if more music with lyrics that say something instead of "but what's a girl to do When she's stopped thinking of you?" wow poor me. Blah blah blah. I'm sure you'd agree with me that these days a lot of the chart topping music is coming from pre pubescent, money hungry, self absorbed, hedonists that cant see a day past tomorrow when they will buy their new Yves Saint Laurent nail polish. Perhaps if we discard these superficial icons we will not need to study poetry like that of Bruce Dawe's work. Because it will be obsolete Bruce Dawe's, Americanized paints two different descriptions of society, the first, on a superficial level, and the second, on a metaphorical level.
The first discussing the debatable y unloving relationship between a mother and her son and her power over him and his outlooks on life at such a young age. The second, on a metaphorical level, Dawe expresses his fear of the situation between America, acting as a superpower and / or mother, and Australia as a vulnerable minority and only child in the eyes of it's patron saint. Enter without so much as knocking jumps straight into the metaphorical society, which Dawe is afraid our own is turning into. A society where families are described by using marketing slogans; " one economy sized mum, one Anthony Squires Cool stream Summer weight dad, along with two other kids straight off the junior department rack." Every aspect of the family is described in a sexist, impersonal, monotonous manner. With this in mind we realise that it is this mundane attitude that Dawe is afraid our society is turning into. It is this that he is trying to communicate to the youth of our society before its too late.
Before we are over ridden with greed and mass-conformity showing us how we can become selfish and materialistic and how we can become so involved in something that we no longer recognise the beauties of life and nature. It deals with issues such as the cycle of life, mass production and lack of uniqueness. It shows how consumerism has a negative influence on society. His purpose for writing this poem was to challenge the cycle he observed and to show us through only a few moments in a person's life, the extreme of this problem. Dawe's poetry is not for entertainment but to inform and educate us on the growing problem, where we are told the limits of the human body become indistinct blurred by cosmetic, narcotics, disease, and brutality, not to mention of lines like "things can be better, u must strive harder, use this and you will feel swell" constantly in our faces. He wants to open the public's' eyes to the mishaps of society.
Dawe sarcastically attacks the way in which people have been manipulated by the appeal of consumerism. He tries to warn us of the fact that we have abandoned our ethics and values in search of a more fulfilled and enriched life, which is manifested by an obsession with consumer products.