Saturday, July 30, 2011

Divine wind and how it challenges or promotes the Australian culture

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The divine wind, by Gary Disher challenges some of my ideas about the Australian culture. The philosophy behind Australian culture is built upon the ideal of mateship, equality and multiculturalism. The lack of mateship and the disrespect of other cultures, opposes my understanding of the Australian culture. The author uses setting, characterisation, language and point of view to express and convey his ideas about the Australian culture.

The novel focuses on an Anglo-Saxon point of view to highlight the problems with the Anglo-Saxon community and to give the impression of an unbiased reflection of the Japanese culture in the 140s. The novel is written in the first person and through the personas relationships, the reader can gain insight into the social behaviour of the community. The novel represents a society dominated by white Anglo-Saxon people that used migrants as a cheap labour force. The novel shows the struggles that the Japanese people faced. The discrimination and the social, economic and cultural difference between the traditional British people and the Japanese/Australian people. This was described by and through the eyes of the persona. Showing the reaction of the white Anglo-Saxon community towards his relationship with the Japanese people. I supposed it was Mitsys Japaneseness that my mother feared Hartleys mother represented the prejudices that existed. The British people saw the Japanese people as threats to their survival. This challenged the idea of mateship because the Japanese and Anglo-Saxon people were neighbours and lived in the same community. The novel exposes the fear that had accumulated in the lead up to war. The fear generated from the British pioneers towards the Japanese immigrant.

The style and the language used in the novel creates the mood and tension that conveys the authors chosen intentions. The police interview recount of Derbys responses were educated and grammatically correct. This was a legal document that was reproduced in the text. The reader, knowing the character, Derby Boxer, knew that he was not an educated man. The reproduced document was not an accurate reflection of the responses made by Debby Boxer. It had been manufactured by the police offices. The legal system failed him. The notion that you are innocent until proven guilty was disregarded by the police officers. The action of the police officers questions the equality and highlights the prejudices that exist within society. Instead of conducting an investigation into the crime the police officers assumed that Derby was guilt without any evidence. This may have been because of the prejudice that surrounded his aboriginal culture. This represents the corruption and discrimination with in the legal system. The legal system governs all the people of Australia and therefore the idea that the legal system can be corrupt challenges my beliefs that we are all equal in the eyes of the law.

There are parallels between the difference in culture and the geographical differences between the characters, the Sennosukes lived in Chinatown and the Penroses lived on the other side of town where all the other pearling masters lived. There is a direct relationship between the setting of the characters and there social standing the community. The setting in turn depended on your culture. We were not alone...... most European households had at least a gardener and a house-girl. Your culture determines your occupation, as assumptions and stereotypes are made about cultures, rather than looking at the person, people are seen as a culture. The blackfellow cant make ethical or moral distinction. Your social status is predetermined by your culture. An egalitarian society does not exist. The notion that we are all equal is questioned in the text. Challenging the Australian culture.

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Mateship is an essential part of the Australian culture. The author uses characterisation to challenge this view about mateship. I gazed at him. I could let him die. The author sets up conflict between Hartley and Jamie, in a love triangle with Mitsy. The thought of letting Jamie died was driven by jealous. This is not mateship, you dont let your friend die under any circumstances. This action challenges the idea of mateship and therefore my ideas about the Australian culture.

The divine wind highlights the faults in society. Including the prejudices and stereotypes that we place on ourselves and others. It also makes people aware of the discrimination that occurs and continues to occur. Allowing people who are not discriminated against to develop an understand about the difficulties one faces when labeled and miss treated because of their culture. The novel challenges most Anglo-Saxon view about the Australian culture. Only through critical thinking and questing of ones ideas can we become aware of our own prejudices and stereotypes. The novel opened my eyes to many of the current day prejudices that occur, September eleventh was one that came to mind. People of Muslim faith are now targeted and are stereotypically seen as dangerous fanatical people that oppose the western world. Prejudices such as this are fueled by fear and ignorance, rather than fact.

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