In "Enter Without So Much as Knocking," what is Dawe saying about the impact of consumerism in our lives?

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

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Dawe's depiction of consumerism is one that drives the individual's being in the world.  It is a guest that has the ability to "enter without so much as knocking."  The boy's life is guided by consumerism.  Its impact is felt from the very first stages of life:  "First thing he heard was/ Bobby Dazzler on Channel 7."  The child's life is driven by consumerism with a family that fits the contours of the consumer life and a being that is carved out of the consumerist cloth:

one economy-size Mum, one Anthony Squires-
Coolstream-Summerweight Dad, along with two other kids
straight off the Junior Department rack.

As the child becomes older, he is an embodiment of the consumer culture.  There is nothing in way of introspection and reflection within him.  Rather, he becomes the logical extension of a vision of consumerism:  

Anyway, pretty soon he was old enough to be
realistic like every other godless
money-hungry back-stabbing miserable
so-and-so, and then it was goodbye stars and the soft
cry in the corner when no-one was looking because
I'm telling you straight, Jim, it's Number One every time

The existence that consumerism has had on the child who has now become a man is a condition where what society represents what people are.  Non- conformity is impossible.  The impact that consumerism has on the individual constructs their very being. They become everything that they are told to become, without any hope of "stars" and "the soft cry in the corner."  

This drives the boy who becomes a man with a good tan throughout his life.  His death is an instant that becomes forgotten amidst the continual drive and function of consumerism.  The idea that opens the poem of how dust is the only constant is interrupted with the impact of consumerism in our lives.  Dawe's poem shows consumerism to be the force that denies individuals a true understanding of being in the world, punctuating our existence with commercialism and empty platitudes which foster conformity and a lack of individuality.

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