, Research Paper
Bruce Dawe?s Enter Without So Much as Knocking is a poem that is critical of consumerism in the modern world. The poem itself is a story of one man?s life, from birth until being buried and is a satirical look at modern society and its materialism.
The poem starts with the line ?Memento, homo, qui, pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.? This is a quite from Genesis and in english means man is made of dust and unto dust he shall return. This is the central idea of the poem; no matter how many materialistic items we acquire and consume, in the end, we all end up at the same place.
In stanza one, the new born baby comes home. The first thing it hears is ?Bobby Dazzler on Channel 7.? This shows how much of our lives television dominates. Bobby Dazzler calls the audience ?lucky people? in a bright yet false tone. Dawe creates irony in this stanza by saying how the baby really is lucky, because he does not understand what Bobby Dazzler is saying. The baby is yet to be introduced into the world of consumerism and materialism.
In stanza two, Dawe uses advertising language such as ?well-equipped?, ?smoothly-run? and ?economy-sized? to describe the members of the family. These people are like products themselves. They are now just part of the consumer system. This is an obvious exaggeration, but Dawe believes that consumerism has dehumanised the family and taken away the individuality of people.
Stanza three again makes use of some advertising language. ?Good-as-new? is an example. This sort of language is now standard in life in the modern world. Dawe also shows the hustle and bustle of life by quoting signs that we see every day in the street. ?Walk. Don?t Walk. Turn left. No Parking? are all examples of this. These words are very abrupt and somewhat jagged, creating the feeling of business. Stanza three also reminds us of the impact the car has in modern day lives. The car is dominant in the modern world. Dawe uses the onomatopoeic word ?beep? representing the sound of the horn to interrupt his sentences. As the stanza progresses the ?beep? becomes a sensor for the swearwords spoken as the person gets frustrated with life.
The forth stanza of the poem is somewhat bitter and cynical. The character goes to a drive in movie and gets a glimpse of the night sky behind the fifty-foot wide screen filled with stars. The extremely wide screen is symbolising how blown out of proportion modern entertainment has become and how it is produced without regard for nature. Dawe writes ?no-one had got around to fixing it up yet? meaning he thinks it will eventually get completely destroyed.
Stanza five has an angry tone. Dawe describes people as being ?godless, money-hungry, backstabbing and miserable.? The theme here is that society has become moraless and values have decreased. People become greedy and aim to make money regardless of the cost to others.
In this stanza, the main character?s childhood ends and he enters adulthood. This is shown through the line ?goodbye stars and the soft cry in the corner.? The once innocent child has now become a greedy businessman who is selfish and ruthless. The character has been to a dinner party and tells her how much he enjoyed it
In stanza six we hear the character being hypocritical and telling his partner how he can barely stand the host of the dinner party. This further demonstrates what sort of man the character has grown into. Also in this stanza, the character?s partner crashes the car.
In stanza seven we find that the character has died in the car accident, though even though he is now dead, he still remains artificial and false. The morticians have made the body up with a tan that he has never even had. The characters cemetery is described as being an ?underground metropolis.? Ironically, Dawe shows how the dead are free of consumerism where there is ?permanent residentials, no parking tickets, no taximeters.? However in writing this, Dawe is making it sound like an advertisement showing how good death is.
The character is then buried and hence he has returned to dust.