The Australian Landscape

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The Australian landscape has for long been an enigma to composers especially to poets. Its juxtaposed hostility, but at the same time sublime beauty has provoked poets like Judith Wright to represent the landscape as both a friend and an enemy to people. Wright relies heavily on the motif of the climatic conditions to support her representation of the innate connectivity that people have with the Australian Landscape. Through her poems Hawthorne Hedge and Flame Tree in a Quarry, Wright presents a portrait of the landscape with its people whose experiences endorse the premise that the Australian bush is both daunting and welcoming. It is both a sanctuary and an open abyss of the unknown. The binary oppositions of a sanctuary and a daunting place…show more content…
This poem is reflective of Wright’s isolation from society and her inability to reconcile with her past. The cumulative listing of “Her hands were strong in the earth/her glance on the sky/her song…” demonstrates the land is a source of hope for the woman who removed herself from the outside world. A sense of negativity is induced through the dichotomous imagery of “that barrier thorn across the hungry ridge/thorn and snow” alluding to the Hawthorne trees which she had lovingly planted ‘long ago’ ironically depicts her isolation. The hedge is now harsh and beyond humans’ control. The damaging of the natural balance in the poem is similar to the Europeans’ dispossession of the Aborigines. Wright portrays how the guilt of invading Indigenous Australians’ land conflicts with a love of landscape and prevents the woman in the poem to look beyond the hedge to reconcile with her past. The consequences of society’s failure to come to terms with this guilt mirrors the seclusion of the woman. Wright’s personification of “wind turns her grindstone heart and whets/a thorn branch like a knife” emphasizes that not confronting the past results in a lacking relationship with the landscape. Thus, Wright depicts the land as a place of security for people unable to reconcile with their…show more content…
Despite Harry’s detachment with landscape, specifically nature, he realised an effort to reconnect with landscape was essential for him to grow out his life of luxury, procrastination and wasting his talent. The safari supposedly would have helped Harry to adopt, once again, the virtues of hard work and honesty. The flashbacks in snows are focused on the concerns about the erosion of Harry’s values: lost love, revenge and war. They are a mix of hedonism, sentimentality toward the human condition, and leaving unfinished business. Here, the symbolism of Kilimanjaro is contrasted with the symbolism of the plains. Harry is dying in the plains from gangrene, causing his body to rot and turn greenish black. Against Harry 's background of dark horror and hopelessness, Hemingway contrasts Harry 's memories of the good times that he had in the mountains. Hemingway ends his story with Harry 's spirit triumphant, as when Harry dies, his spirit is released and travels to the summit of the mighty mountain where the square top of Kilimanjaro is "wide as all the world"; it is incredibly white as it shines in the sunlight. The mountain is brilliant, covered with pure white snow; it is incredibly clean — a clean, well-lighted
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