First Peer Review

Hey there Anastasia!

Really love your blog post and agree with the fact that we don’t often realise the true meaning of the land we walk on while Indiginous people actively keep the connection alive. While I agree with your statement that “the Aboriginals, still see this land as how it was, how it should be”, I think to continue on from there it is interesting that Indignous people also included many of the things Europeans bought and found meaning in that as well as their natural environment. For example, Bobby in That Deadman Dance compared the ship sails to bird wings in an attempt to create meaning in the man-made environment also. I also love your point that the flora and fauna “give the land a soul”.

Keep up the awesome work 🙂

Posted to: https://anastasiamodderno.wordpress.com/

Co-dependency

What is the one most important idea or experience that you have discovered in the writings of indigenous authors (other than Kim Scott) or in the writings of authors about the indigenous experience?

Co-dependency of everything on earth is a concept I had not thought about in great detail before realising the significance it has while reading indigenous writing. This aspect of life was highlighted through the fact that while each person, animal, plant etc, has its own space and meaning, they are only what they are because of their environment and the way they are related to it.

The poem Tree by Kevin Gilbert (1990) exemplifies this through the approach to life that all aspects if environment live through each other. The lines “I am you and/ you are nothing/ but through me the tree” shows this though personification as the tree being part of the reader as well as the reader being part of the tree creates a powerful connection between the two aspects of environment. In many ways, we are much more dependant on a tree than it is on us as a tree provides oxygen, food and shelter- three basic necessities for human life. In return, we may try to protect the tree from harsh conditions, water it when necessary and prevent it from being destroyed by pests. This idea makes it more clear to me than it ever has been why Aboriginal spirituality is so centered on the environment, the respect that they hold is truly admirable as, after all, what would we be if it were not for the tree?

The lines “for all creation/ earth and God and man/ is nothing/ until they fuse/ and become a total sum of something” further demonstrate the perspective of looking at the world that I discovered in my reading this week. The line helps to create a sense of unity, respect and co-dependency between all aspects of environment. It made me come to the realisation that a tree is not just a tree and a person is not just a person. While this sounds incredibly strange, in the context of this poem and idea of co-dependency it makes some sense. While each is an individual being, together, along with the rest of the environment, they are a part of something bigger, “a total sum of something.” This in a way makes each more valuable due to the effect it has on the other. In the end, is creation itself not more beautiful than a single person?

In this way, the co-dependency of nature and the beauty of this concept I have discovered this week has really opened my eyes to the different perceptions of the world. The beauty that the world has to offer is made stronger through the need for each aspect of nature to create a much more meaningful environment.

“Beauty”

Describe in a short paragraph the single most important insight or understanding that has come to you from your study of literature this week. If you can, say also, why your personal history has led you to this insight or understanding. Enjoy the challenge!

The different perceptions of what “beauty” is and the personal meaning that a landscape can have for an individual is a concept that became a significant part of my study of literature this week. The reason the word “beauty” is in quotation marks is the simple fact that there is no true meaning- it is completely subjective and dependant on ones own ideas, experiences, and the meaning they place upon a person, object or landscape.

The concept of perceptions of beauty is portrayed in Judith Wright’s Rockface (The Shadow of Fire: Ghazals, 1985) when she states, “I’ve no wish to chisel things into new shapes,/The remnant of a mountain has its own meaning.” This declaration demonstrates the significance of a landscape in itself rather than what can be taken from it, what its utilitarian purpose is. The word “chisel” is seemingly out of place in the poem, which focuses on nature and spirituality. Through this, it becomes clear that to “chisel” in this case, would be to interupt or destroy the beauty of the landscape in the same way that the word itself does not match the rest of the poem. The final line of the poem is also a reflection of the stories lost when European settlers destroyed much of the natural landscape, a large amount of culture being destroyed also. This idea is further explored through Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance. The phrase that really resonated with me from the novel was when Bobby states, “We learned your words and songs and stories, and never knew you didn’t want to hear ours.” In a similar way that the the alteration of the mountain from Judith Wright’s poetry destroys the beauty, the goal of replacing Aboriginal culture with European culture that the settlers had, left Aboriginal peoples with disconnection and at a loss for meaning.

 

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Australian flora as seen from my bedroom window. Featuring my younger sister. Photographed by me.

The perceptions of beauty in relation to the Australian landscape, somewhat surprised me as I have always held an appreciation for Australian flora and fauna due to the fact that my father grew up in the Blue Mountains and as I grew up, he took pleasure in taking my family bushwalking and pointing out the different features of the landscape. In fact, our front yard is the home to various Australian flora which greets me as I come home everyday. In the same way, I was incredibly surprised when out of the whole lecture, I was the one person who had heard of a scribbly-gum before! This just goes to show that, while on an incredibly smaller scale to that of Rockface and That Deadman Dance, the beauty of the Australian landscape is seen (or not seen) by each individual in a dramatically different perspective which leads to the creation of meaning based upon experience and opinions.