Area of Study… on a page
“I began to hide my skin from the other beach, from this stretch of cycleway.” Swallow The Air The 1st person narrative and the metaphor of “my skin” represents May’s identity as Aboriginal. The repetition of “from this” shows the separation that May feels she is forced to make from her beloved “beach”. The beach symbolises May’s cultural connection to the land – which she now feels she has to avoid. The “cycleway” symbolises the white culture to which May does not belong. 1st person narrative metaphor – “my skin” Sibilance (“s” sound repetition) Repetition of “from this” Contrasting symbols of place – “beach” and “cycleway” The concept of belonging represented here is: “individuals can experienceracial and cultural barriers to belonging”.
"It wasn't in our eyes, or our voices, or what we said. It was just there, that understanding, that sameness - it slicked our pores, our skin." - 60 • Lexical chain (“eyes” – “voices” – “language” – “pores” – “skin”) • Repetition of inclusive pronoun “our” • High modality – “just there’ – “that understanding, that sameness” The lexical chain of individual physical features represent Billy and May’s identity in it’s simplest and clearest form. The repetition of the inclusive pronoun “our” shows that Billy and May share these basic physical characteristics – and, consequently, share an identity. The high modality of “that understanding, that sameness” shows the Billy and May are “the same” and this “sameness” simply makes them belong together. The concept of belonging here is: Individuals who share the same characteristics feel a sense of belonging. The extent to which individuals belong is influenced by their shared identity.
"We don't huddle together (in the corn stalks), Billy and me - we are separated by the violence." - 87 • Contrast “huddle together” / “separated” • Punctuation of clauses ( “-”) • Repetition of inclusive “we” • Metaphor “separated by the violence” The metaphor of “separated by violence” shows Billy and May hiding from the domestic violence inside their home. The punctuated structure of the quote creates contrasting images of Billy and May, who share the same fear yet they deliberately stay apart. Ironically, the inclusive “we” shows that, even though they hide from each other, they are “huddled together” in their shared experience. The trauma they both experience in the safety of the corn stalks strengthens both their relationship and their sense of belonging to each other. They reject the violence in the house and seek comfort in the safety in the corn stalks. Here, Winch creates another image of May’s strong connection to the land…and May’s rejection of a suburban house (which symbolises a non-indigenous culture). The concept of belonging: Individuals who share the same traumatic experience feel a sense of belonging. The extent to which individuals belong is influenced by a shared experience.
"And the more he wasn't there, the more I realised too, we were all gone.“ Pg 60 The singular “he” refers to Billy when he finally left Aunty’s house. The repetition of “the more” represents the passing of time when Billy is absent. The switch to the inclusive “we” in the final clause shows that Billy’s absence has effected everyone left in the house. The high modality of the metaphor of “we were all gone” shows the level of anxiety that May and Aunty feel. They are “gone” because they have lost the sense of connectedness that Billy created by being an important member of the family. High modality “we were all” Repetition “the more” Metaphor “we were all gone” Contrast of singular to plural pronouns “he” / “we” The concept of belonging: An individual or groups sense of belonging can be determined by one significant person within the group. When an important member of a group leaves – the remaining group can become disconnected. The stronger the personal relationship between individuals… the more painful the consequences when the relationship ends.
“Johnny takes me away, together we run the white-sanded beaches, and we eat mangoes and pick coconuts and wade through swamps to pull up lily roots and eat them as sugar rhubarb” – 119, creates rhythmic, nostalgic tone. • Repetition of the inclusive pronoun “we” and cumulative clauses • Symbolic imagery of the land / nature (“beaches” “mangoes” “coconuts” swamps” …) and sharing food. The repetition of the inclusive plural “we” refers to Johnny and May relationship. The cumulative clauses create a rhythmic and nostalgic tone to May’s day-dream. The developing imagery positions the responder to feel the freedom and happiness that May feels in her imaginary world – her “Dreaming” – with Johnny. The repetition of the symbolic wild Australian foods shows May’s sense of fulfilment is closely connected to her deep cultural relationship with the land. Winch represents her own cultural sense of belonging to the traditional Aboriginal Dreaming and the value indigenous people place on close relationships with family and loved-ones. • Concepts of Belonging / Not Belonging: • Individuals who share a strong cultural identity develop a sense of belonging and fulfilment • A responder who does not understand the cultural values of a text will experience a sense of not-belonging and alienation from the deeper meanings being expressed by the composer.