What would be a postcolonial reading of the poem "Australia" by A. D. Hope?
A postcolonial reading focuses on the view of the colonized peoples of a country rather than the perspective of the colonizers. It is often referred to as the subaltern point of view, or the "view from below."
A postcolonial reading would therefore examine the way the poem "Australia" expresses a negative view of the effects of European colonization on the continent. This can easily be found in this poem, in which the speaker harshly critiques the European influence on the land. For example, the speaker talks satirically about how Europeans regard Australia: they think of it as without culture, lacking "songs, architecture, history" and as a place of "immense stupidity."
The speaker, in true postcolonial fashion, pushes back against this characterization of his native land. He calls the five cities the colonizers have established "five teeming sores," an ugly image of disease come to the continent. He says these cities, symbols of the colonizer, are "a vast parasite robber-state" that drains the continent dry. He calls the Europeans "second hand" settlers who have clung timidly to the lands near the shore. He also refers to them not as a superior people but as "cultured apes."
Showing the mindset of those who were taken over and colonized, the speaker expresses his deep anger at the English. These colonizers, in his view, have not brought beauty or advancement to the land, no matter what they might think.
check Approved by eNotes Editorial