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Australian Identity In Literature

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Autor:   •  October 30, 2010  •  741 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,181 Views

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"Brotherhood was never like it; friendship is not the word; but deep in that body of marching men the soul of a nation stirred" so wrote Banjo Paterson in his poem "Australia Today 1916". Australia had only been a commonwealth for one hundred and five years, yet already a strong nationalism had emerged. An Identity. The words larrikin, mateship, accent, sporting, culture and independence come to mind.

The way in which I will construct Australian Identity is through use of the autobiography of Dan Crowley, entitled "Undercover Prop".

Dan Crowley is a Brisbane boy who had a professional career as a prop and has represented his country many times in the overseas arena. He also is an undercover cop who participated in many drug takedowns on the Gold Coast during the early 90's.

In the book Dan Crowley vividly draws on the many discourses he had in his life, primarily those of mateship, rugby, work in the police force, and family. These intersect at many combinations throughout the book. Dan is constructed as being a rugby player from his early teens. Throughout the book Dan Crowley vividly depicts many stories of him and his mates. As he recalls, it was his mates who got him into rugby. "You're slow, fat and have no ball skills...You'll make an excellent prop" is a fond memory of his.

The most dominant discourse portrayed in this autobiography is mateship. This theme of mateship is first evident a few pages into the book. Dan Crowley states "In my first year at St Elizabeth's, in grade one, I met three guys, Adam McDonald, Craig Senior, and Andrew Johnstone, and we became best of mates...We four were inseparable right through school and for a couple of years after...".

Dan represents the Australian stereotype of being a "bloke" due to the fact that he has a great interest in sport. Playing rugby contributes more to the discourse of mateship evident in this book as displayed in many of the chapters. Dan emphasises that "To me, part of Rugby's appeal is having a beer in the sheds with a bloke who, just 10 minutes earlier, I'd been doing my level best to smash." Rugby has united Dan and his team and has forged many strong friendships which he still has to this day.

In the later chapters Dan draws on the impact of "professionalism" on rugby. He mentions the decline of the strong bonds of the people who play Rugby due to the fact that money got involved and has phased out room for mistakes.


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