Judith WrightS Poetry Essay Research Paper In

Judith Wright?S Poetry Essay, Research Paper

In reference to Judith Wright’s poetry as being of a unique and distinctive style, in particular

Wright is well known for her use of two subjects, that being the ‘Australian aspect’ where in her

work she commonly relates to the old traditional style of Australia’s history and the harsh

landscape that is well known as an Australian trait. Three examples of this distinctive style of

writing is ‘Remittance Man’, ‘South of my Days’ and ‘Legend’. The other of Wright’s favoured

topics is the ‘Womens view’ or the feminist side of life, in which Wright creatively relays the

way a women perceives certain aspects of a subject compared to that of a man. there is also the

clear presence in all her feminist poems the indication of the womens traditional role in society

today and in particular the past. Three examples of this style is ‘Women to Man’, ‘To Another

Housewife’ and ‘Eve to her Daughters’.

Whilst all of Wright’s poetry has it’s own way of giving the lasting impression of these two

aspects, in particular the poem Remittance Man stands out clearly in my mind as one of Wright’s

most qualified examples of the Australian style. Even in the opening lines of this poem there is

the subtle indication of that impression that Wright so strongly feels for Australia and the people,

‘The spendthrift, disinherited and graceless’ this English outcast i.e The Remittance Man, has no

real class or presence of a respectable character, yet these three dishonorable words refer directly

to that almost traditional idea of what the Australian man was in the past. Once it is established

that this Remittance Man is not wanted in England however happily retreats to the shores of

Australia and finds self contentment with this almost opposite lifesyle where he feels no

jugdement is put on him, no more restrictions or unacceptable behaivour that he so frequently

disgraced his family with.

The main ideas of this poem is the constant comparison between the cold, formal aspect of

England to the harsh, laid back way of Australia, which is still a commonly perceived way that is

seen today. In the first stanza the line ‘backtracks in the summer haze’ gives the instant idea of

the Australian landscape that shows Wright’s direct idea of what she distinguishes this as. This is

just the first in a numerous amount of lines that account for the typical view of Australia. There is

also a strong sense that Australia is the favoured compared to that of England, not just by the

Remittance Man but in Particular through the writing Wright’s opinion seems clear, which is also

justified in her other Australian poems. Though England seems to have no real qualities in this

poem there is also subtle criticism to the refined English culture that Australians ironically are

renound to be the complete opposite in manner and in the social ettiquette that exists strongly in


However once the English aspect is left behind The Remittance Man abandons his old life and is

released from the formal ties he hated so much. The ‘blind-drunk sprees’ were in the past and the

‘track to escape to nowhere’ was everything that Australia could offer him. Yet Wright still

cleverly intervenes with his memories of shame that presented the English ‘pale stalk of a wench’

which was replaced by ‘black Mary’s eyes’ the indication of an Aboriginal. The constant contrast

of the two opposites is referred to throughout the entire poem showing the powerful idea that

Wright is putting to her readers. The images of the landscape are also one of Wright’s strong

passions that she refers to countlessly particularly the Australian landscape. All of Wright’s

Australian poems reflect the heritage and nature that is of Australia, there is also the use of the

past to show the traditional role that is what our country is well known for. In particular in this

poem the strong conflicting nature of England and Australia show the ironic twist that history

shows that Australia was where all the convicts were deported to from England however in the

Remittance Man’s mind this was his ticket to paradise.

The rugged beauty of the Australian environmement is where the Remittance Man finally lays to

rest, ‘That harsh biblical country of the scapegoat’. Though the Remittence Man found his

hapiness and self satisfaction this was not seen by those of his family, in particular, the Squire his

brother feels a vague sense of care for his brother that he feels has led a shameful and wasted life.

This ending for the poem leaves the reader in a neutral state of mind where there is an unsureness

of hapiness or rather should it be questioned that this Remittance Man was a failure and never

amounted to anything, however jugdement of this character is of only some importance the main

idea is to identify Wright’s image of her faint indication through the poem that she feels more for

Australia than that of England.

On the other side of Wright’s common topic used in her poetry as referred to earlier is her role of

women, where she presents there view, there understandings of life, the feminist touch, and

submissive attitudes all in contrast to that of man. Yet Wright does not always show favoritism

towards her female characters they too are just as fallable as man. In which sense women are

presented in what seems an unbiased way to the reader where Wright does not always attack the

male characteristics. A perfect example of this idea is the poem ‘Eve to her Daughter’s’ where

Wright once again sets the poem in the past yet uses modern implications to bring the reader

through time from past to present, all this is cleverly presented in a monologue style that seems

so simple yet from it derives a complex idea. That being ‘The Fall of Man’.

From the beginning of the poem where there is an instant indication of someone at blame with

the opening line ‘It was not I who began it’ where Eve is beginning to tell her side of the story as

to explain her theory as to why humans are where we are today. From the first stanza there is the

strong indication of both what is seen as the male and female traits through history i.e ‘where

Adam went I was fairly contented to go’ showing the male dominance, and ‘I adapted myself to

the punishment: it was my life’ showing the submissive nature of women.

Right from the beginning starts the pattern to explain why mans ego is not one of his best

qualities, Eve presents this through many examples. Once they are cast out from their perfect

haven into reality ther is a strong anger felt by Adam, To him God had no right to possess this

higher status until Adam develops the theory that Eden is now just an unproven dream along with

God where neither can be demonstrated therefore they cannot exist. Adam has a strong

resentment to the fact that ‘the seasons changed and the game was fleet-footed’. There is now a

notion that Adam must satisfy his aim to rebuild his Garden of Eden and at the same time

subconciously it could be seen that he is rebuilding his ego.

So from the religous figure Adam became a scientist where mechanism was the whole secret.

The knowlegde that he gained which presented a feeling of power only inflated his destructive

ego where he created a world of ‘central heating, domesticated animals, mechanical harvesters,

combustion engines, escalators, refrigerators, and modern means of communication’ where at

present not all creations have improved our world. Though from all of this Eve stood by and

followed Adam every step of the way, she may not have always agreed but at the same time never

had the ability to stand up to Adam’s aggresive nature that she weakened to. Yet as history has it

the modernisations that exist to date have not satisfied Adam where the simplicity of Eden still is

what Adam desires most.

Yet Adam does not accept this he now believes that he understands all so therefore he must be

God, however Eve puts forward that if Adam equals God and God doesn’t exist then neither does

Adam. Although this is all logical the male pride denies any acceptance of this theory. From Eves

perspective where she is telling the daughters of the world i.e all women of the world she is

questioning and also stating that it is time for women to stand up and take over, as our future if it

follows pattern looks bleak.

From the last few stanzas of the poem it could now be seen as the ideas from Wright’s own

personal view on the matter rather than Eve. ‘perhaps nothing exists but our faults? at least they

can be demonstrated’ this theory is in itself a jugdement of the poem which can be seen as

ajugdement of man kind. The complex idea that Wright presents is not first indicated from the

simple style and structure of the poem, however once it is understood that there is a strong

concept and message within the reader sees the notion that Wright is putting forward ‘ all that is

perfect is unproven therefore possibly never existed i.e Garden of Eden.

On the whole of Wright’s poetry There is a clear presence of her love for the Australian

landscape in which the continuous reference to particular Australian plants only show more

clearly how her strong interest for this country is what she enjoys expressing and the favoured

view of females rather than that of a man. Not that there is more criticism placed on man than

women, there is simply a strong and realistic truth about what Wright shows as the role of both

man and women and then the consequences that result from both their characters. Whilst the

poems in particular reference ‘The Remittance Man’ and ‘Eve to her Daughters’ are perfect

examples to express these two ideas as well as show the distinctive way that Wright presents her



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