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In "Americanized" by Bruce Dawe what extended metaphor (conceit) does Dawe use?

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tamanimat | Student, Grade 11 | Salutatorian

Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:18 AM via iOS

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In "Americanized" by Bruce Dawe what extended metaphor (conceit) does Dawe use?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 5, 2013 at 8:10 AM (Answer #1)

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To express the relationship between American consumer dominance and Australian emergence into such a realm, Dawe uses the metaphor of a mother and child.  The mother is emotionally distant from the child.  She is able to spout of self indulgent notions of identity that have been carved out of Madison Avenue brand of consumerism such as "I think young, I think big, therefore I am." She is unable to emotionally connect with her child except for when the child engages with her toys.  All of these are American name brand items like soft drinks, hot dogs, and chewing gum.

The Australian identity in this relationship is the child.  The child is shown to be emotionally adrift in the poem, "a vague passing spasm of loss."  The emotional estrangement compels it to see any attention, even a consumerist manufactured one, is better than no attention.  For the child, being able to embrace what the mother does is almost a tradition being passed down.  There is something jarring about how this is a passing of the consumerist torch from one generation to another, with nothing emotional remaining.  It is in this light where the metaphor of mother and child serves to heighten Dawe's critique of American consumerism on Australia.

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