Post-Colonialist Texts by Joshua

By Joshua, Year 10

Written as part of Factory Feedback

The post-colonial text ‘Bora Ring’ by Judith Wright explores a unique aspect of Australian identity by communicating her perspective on the British colonisation of the former. The poem speaks about the various absences of parts of Aboriginal culture. The poet uses an array of techniques in the poem to spread recognition of the fact that Australian culture is in danger of being wiped out as well as the fact that clearly, Australian culture should be thriving, but it isn’t. The poem, especially the last stanza, leaves us with the message that we should try to preserve Australian culture as it is so unique. 

“Lost in an alien tale” suggests the nature of the British towards the Australian Aboriginals and in turn, the Aboriginals’ negative attitudes towards their invaders. The line uses a metaphor to suggest the idea that the British are like aliens, well at least to the Australians, completely foreign and harbouring negative intentions towards them. This proves that the foreigners who contacted the original inhabitants of Australia were the ones responsible for its destruction. The example is a good reflection of Australian identities as it hints at the population of Australian and their opinion of the British as aliens, which would have affected Judith Wright’s choice of words as an Australian Aboriginal herself. She wants people to know her stance on the situation which was that British colonisation had a profoundly damaging effect on Australian culture. 

The line “a dream the world breathed sleeping and forgot” highlights the former prosperity of Australian culture. Personification is used to represent the period before British colonisation of Australia and colonisation in general as in the world was in a peaceful slumber, dreaming, until it woke up,  The personification also goes hand in hand with “a dream” because it’s metaphoric for aboriginal culture, the world was dreaming and Aboriginal culture was thriving. European colonisation and specifically for Australia, British ended all the successful cultures prior to contact and colonisation, reflected in the personification for the world dreaming. “Only the rider’s heart halts at a sightless shadow” implies that the continuation of Australian Aboriginal culture has come to a standstill. This line also utilises a metaphor to great effect as it puts across the idea that the author’s people (Australian Aboriginals) should be thriving, but they aren’t. The “rider’s heart” refers to the emotions and memories held within the Aboriginal rider. 

The technique presents the absence of an important Aboriginal icon as “a sightless shadow,” indicating and emphasising its disappearance because of British settlement. The listed example above represents remnants of the memories and experiences of Aboriginal culture that have been passed down despite the colonisation of Australia, even though a large amount of the beliefs and traditions were destroyed. This reflects the Australian Aboriginal identities and opinions as a whole were also affected by British colonisation. Negative opinions of the British are now ingrained in Australian indigenous culture so much that it’s natural for Australian Aboriginals to hate or at least dislike the British and vice versa. Judith Wright manages to successfully represent an aspect of Australia identity through her poem She uses ‘Bora Ring’ as a medium to explain how Aboriginal culture was affected by British colonisation and backs up her point with personal experiences. 

To reiterate, the unique aspect of Australian Identity explored by Judith Wright’s poem ‘Bora Ring’ was that the indigenous culture of Australia vanished as a result of British colonisation. The line “the song is gone” is a synopsis of the poem, using a synecdoche to represent all of Aboriginal culture, stating blatantly that it has vanished from Australia, contradictory to the fact it should be thriving. Emphasising the idea that Aboriginal culture deserves to have a place in Australian history as a sacred part of the land itself and its people seemed to be Judith Wright’s main goal. The representation of Australian identity and by extension Aboriginal identity was accurate and communicated effectively through the poem as a discriminated minority that should be protected at all costs.

Factory Feedback was created with, and generously supported by, the Dusseldorp Forum.

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