Summative Entry

Do the interests, concerns and experiences of writers in the 20th Century
assist 21st Century human beings in their understanding of the purpose
of existence?

Through the analysis of various literature and artworks shaped by the concerns and experiences of writers in the 20th century, I have reached the conclusion that these authors and artists have much to teach us in the 21st century about purpose and the understanding of existance. As the 20th century was highly influenced by the modernist movement which was concerned with expressing the human psyche, it is appropriate to state that these expressions can easily be applied to us today despite the changing nature of society.

The political fears expressed by George Orwell and the concept of the Orwellian backbone are still very relevent, possibly even more so today due to the nature of politics and the unsteady relationships between the governments of other countries and our own. The ways in which Orwell’s political ideas are present in today’s society can be seen in my blog post “Defense of the Indefensible” in which these ideas are discussed. The confronting nature of Picasso’s art is also highly relevent to our society today as we continuously strive to rebel against the decisions and confines of those who have come before us. Both Orwell and Picasso depict the fears and aspirations of their own time but their ideas and concepts, while changing, are still highly relevent in our society today.

While the art of the 20th Century was heavily influenced by war, the values held by those effected can teach us extensively about our purpose. Joseph Conrad and Virginia Woolfe explore the purposes of a writer and the importance of compelling readers to pause and reflect upon the world around them as well as having characters who are actually reflective of the human mind repectively. This is further explored in one of my favourite texts that we have examined this semester, All Quiet on the Western Front. Through the scene of Kat and Paul’s goose roasting, the importance of tiny moments that may seem insignificant and the deeper meaning they hold is communicated to readers in such a way that is highly meaningful to the 21st century readers. Check out my blog post about an experience similar to this in my life!

A primary aim I had this semester was to improve in my creative pieces and, using the messages about purpose and existance taught to us through the war poets and immigrant poets of the 20th century, I feel that I have acheived this. In my poem entitled Home, I explore what it means to have a home which conveys the feeling of displacment felt by many in the 20th century. I also used lines from Wilfred Owen’s poetry to write a modern war poem which focues on asylum seekers rather than soldiers. While the situation is vastly different, this is a perfect example of how the literature of the 20th century is still relevent today due to, not the events themselves, but the conclusions about existance and purpose formed as a result of this.

Finally, I explored the relevance of artistic Manifestos which are a direct reflection of the way of thinking at the time it is written. My experiences in the Art Gallery this semester enlightened me to the various ways of creating art and the purposes of the art. While Manifestos are constantly changing, the ideas behind them are still very relevent as society’s values are also constantly changing. New Manifestos are created to either build upon or rebel against previous Manifestos and what those Manifestos value and are concerned with.

Through the many different and multi-modal forms of art and literature that I have explored throughout the semester, it has become very clear to me that the writers of the 20th century have much to teach us about purpose and existance. Through their experiences, values and concerns, despite our differing situations, their undertstanding of the human psyche and the effects that their experiences have on them are very similar to the 21st century and important within our own lives. This unit, and these artists and authors, have taught me very much about my own purpose as well as encouraged me to write in a more meaningful and insightful way, I look foward to more discoveries in future units!


Peer Review 8

Wow Annabelle!
Your poem this week was beautifully written and flowed very nicely. It was really interesting to read about your experiences due to not being able to communicate in the languages of your heritage as I have not had similar feelings to you in my life. I really like the concept you have presented that language grants access to all cultural experiences such as food, dancing and new people as it acknowledges the great importance language has and the true extent of the impact it has on identity. The only piece of advice I have is that in some lines, your rhyme seems to be more for the sake of rhyming than adding to your poem- for example culture/vulture as I do not understand the deeper purpose or meaning of the use of the word “vulture” in the context of the line.
All the best for the completion of your blog!

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Write a short paragraph in prose or verse ending with the line “Wherever I hang my knickers- that’s my home.”


I travel in the Summer

When the grass dulls from green to brown.

And my world is wrapped in light-


But I am lost in the hot unknown.

I journey in the Autumn

When the leaves dance to their graves.

And my world reaps the benefits of the harvest-


But I am lost in the crisp unknown.

I transit in the Winter

When Earth wears her icy coat.

And my world rejoices for provided shelter-


But I am lost in the barren unknown.

I voyage in the Spring

When trees become godesses in bloom.

And my world is reborn and bright-


But I am lost in the blossoming unknown.

I ponder in the Evening

When the quiet consumes my thoughts

And my world realises that I am not


For wherever I hang my knickers- that is my home.

Peer Review 7

Hi Daniel,
I really enjoyed your letter to George Orwell in your blog this week! I think your interpretation of Orwell’s message is interesting in the way that you say he teaches us that taking care in our use of the English language can shape the future however, I think he goes much deeper than that. I feel that his essay is more about the dangers of using the English language in particular ways such as to exclude people, to enforce standards upon people and to demonstrate power over others. I did like your example of the shorthand text language often used today as it is definitely used to exclude others, mostly due to generational difference.
Keep up the good work!

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“Defense of the Indefensible”

Give an example from our own times of the way political speech and writing is “the defence of the indefensible”. 

Using language, one could describe to you a force that kills victims who do not know how to escape; surrounding their whole body, filling their lungs, forcing out the air and suffocating them. A force that can both burn and freeze victims with its properties. Or one could describe a life giving force that enables plants, animals and people to survive and flourish. Both of these statements are true of the same force, water. This demonstrates the way that radicalisation of a concept can completely alter the way in which one thinks about an issue. While the altering of perspective in relation to water has no dangerous effects, the way in which we use language for political purposes can be an easy way for society to ignore an issue or to control the way people think about the world.

In George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language, the concept of political language as the “defence of the indefensible” is explored through historical examples of Russian purges, British rule in India, and the dropping of the atomic bomb . While these examples clearly use language as a way of sugar coating reality in the past, this “technique” is still very relevant to the reasoning behind political statements today. A current and ever-changing issue in Australia is government policy towards Ashley Luke seekers or, as the government likes to label them “Illegal immigrants”; a phrase incriminating people who are fleeing from war-fighting for their lives. This term not only stereotypes the men, women and children, but gives the government a reason, a facade, to hide behind when violating their human rights and failing to address their diverse needs, both mentally and physically. This term, along with the poorly used term “boat people” dehumanises them, making it easier to distance oneself from the horrors of their experiences and their very human needs.

The indefensible act of ignoring the needs of those in desperate need for help is also defended by the Australian government by claiming that they have no way of knowing whether asylum seekers are involved in terrorism. By utilising one of the current fears of the Australian public, not only do politicians convince themselves that they are in the right, but the Australian public also. This results in a lack of care for refugees as well as severe prejudice and exclusion towards those who make it out of the detention centre system. Through the carefully selected word choice when describing refugees, political speech becomes an easy defence to the indefensible. Not only does this act dehumanise and fail to recognise the needs of asylum seekers, but it strikes false fear within the Australian public against people who are not committing a crime, but are fighting for their right to exist.

Peer Review 6

Hi Marija,
I thoroughly enjoyed your poem adapted from Sassoon this week; you incorporated his first line very smoothly into your own poem. I especially liked the parallels you drew between fireworks on New Years and life in the trenches- it is almost as if the noise from the fireworks is the same noise made by warfare but in such different contexts. Only tip I have for you is to make sure you proof read for any small typos- I think that maybe when you wrote “inexperiences souls” you meant “inexperienced”?
Best of luck 😀

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