Douglas Stewart

ENGLISH POEM ASSIGNMENT!! QUESTION 1: composers use distinctive language choices to reflect distinctive experiences. To what extent do your texts support this view? INTRO: The use of anthropomorphism allows objects of the natural environment to be presented with the human characteristics the poet views them with. In the poem, the snow gum, by Douglas Steward, the composer feels an association with himself and also a connection to the royalty of the tree. Anthropomorphism is used as he interpretation the tree to be human-like as it has a “crown” like a person and “full grown”.

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The organic description of the “curve” of the tree, is the composer reinforcing his view of the tree being alive and human-like. The verb use of “curve” adds greater detail that the tree is moving in organic ways and interacting with its shadow, the composers sees tree as free, alive and at one with its shadow. Similarly, in municipal gum by Oodgeroo Noonuccal, a poem in which explores the connection the poet has to the tree and the displacement of the tree in the municipal urban environment it is stuck in, uses sensory language is used to describe the “ hard bitumen” in which the roots of the tree are stuck.

Noonuccal refers to the Gums roots as “feet”, this use of anthropomorphism demonstrates the composers empathy and sympathy towards the tree, the poet views the tree as a living, sentient being. Non-human elements of the natural environment are often portrayed with a sense of intelligence and worth. In nesting time, the proper noun use for the word “Nature”, emphasizes the composers understanding to nature being a living thing. The poet also feels that “Nature” is then associated with intelligence, consciousness and knowingness.

Douglas Steward writes of natural things as if conscious and of equal intelligence to humans, referring to the bird as “ brave and wild”. The subject of the tree in Municipal Gum being addressed in second person as “you” reinforces the idea that the composer perceives the Gum as a sentient being and emphasizes how important it is, likewise when the bird is addressed as “You” in Nesting Time. In contrast to Nesting time and municipal gum, the tree in snow gum is not addressed as “you” but “is”. He sees it as something alive, and gains a sense of sentimental feeling from the tree.

The relationship with man and nature is often influenced by the experiences that one encounters. Douglas Stewart in the snow gum uses descriptively visual techniques in order to portray his experiences, indulging all senses.. The use of imagery to describe the snow gum “ performing its slow miracle” creates a sense of spiritualiy and connection between him and nature that’s present. And in this short pace of time of the “slow miracle”, he is caught up in the experience and awareness of the tree. It is suggested that from his world, he had to slow down to stop and view the natural phenomenon. The choice of the word “something”, reveals his amazement and questioning. He is suddenly aware of the wonders of nature, not just about the tree surviving in the harsh climate but the shadow and the perfection that exists in nature The word choice in nesting times crafts an overall picture for the reader of the relationships formed between nature and humans. The choice of the word “little” emphasizes the innocence the composer views towards the bird in its natural environment. There is a direct link between the bird as “little” and the child as “small”.

The combination of the word choices of “little” and “small” reveal the composers bigger general idea of the innocence of the natural environment. For the poet, the fairy-tale like “charming” bird that he watches “dart” contrasts with what he knows of the world. This experience giving him a new perspective of the “ hard world” as he finds surprising delight in watching the bird. In contrast to Douglas Stewarts poems, oodgeroo Noonuccal’s poem, municipal gum does not explore her experience with nature, rather it is viewed in a political sense. The poet feels a strong connection with the tree, she feels she is one with it.

The tree belongs to her world, not the urban, this is demonstrated through the trees additional epitet of “fellow citizen” and when the poet questions, “ what have they done to us? ” implying the tree symbolizes the Aboriginal people and sums up the overall message of the poem. The composers word choice in the title is literal and succinct, “municipal gum”; instantaneously reveals the juxtaposition the poet feels between the urban and natural environment. Municipal being associated with the urban world, with no emotive connotations attached and gum with the natural.

The use of the ironic title reveals the composers emotive feelings that municipal and gum cannot co-exist, emphasizing her opinion that the gum does not belong in the municipal concrete environment. Noonuccal, like Stewart, in municipal gum uses specific word choice in order to add extra emphasis. The poet views the natural environment to be one of peace, serenety and pleasentness this is demonstrated through the use of sensory kinesthetic language of “cool”, the imagery of “leafy” and the auditory imagery of “birds”, in comparison to the negative views the composer feels towards the urban environment of “hard bitumen”.

Noonuccal makes it evident that things that belong in the natural environment should not be held captive in urban surroundings. This is demonstrated through the “gum tree in the city” stuck in the “ hard bitumen”, but also demonstrated in the image created of the “ poor cart-horse”. Through the use of past participants of “castrated” “broken” wronged” “strappend and buckled” a life of violence and misery for the horse is suggested. Additionally, the hard consonants of B, C and G in these words add ordirtory reinforcement and a visual image created.

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