Category Archives: 20th Century Literature

Under this heading you will find all the posts relevant to my studies of 20th Century Literature, undertaken in Semester 2, 2015

Culture Club

If any of my former fellow students of 20th Century Literature are still following my post, The below link is for a series of lectures happening in the next two weeks at Sydney Opera House. A good range of topics are covered, and if you truly have an interest in 20th Century Literature, you will no doubt love these lectures.



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Peer review – Has the English Language Gone AWOL? by Ally Buster

In today’s world, the instant ‘give it to me now’ world even language has been abbreviated to just acronyms. It is common in Australian language to shorten words; e.g Service Station = Servo, Bottle Shop = bottlo etc. But in today’s world acronym is a way of life. I was thinking about this on the way to uni today. There is a case in the news at the moment of a 16 year old boy being detained without questioning. It got me thinking. One of the main children’s courts in sydney is Cobham. The juvenile justice centre’s where kids are locked up are called correctional centres. So the acronym for the one in Werrington which is attached to Cobham would be CCCCC. And the boss of that place would be the CCCCCCEO.
IT MAKES ROFLMAO child’s play in comparison. Lol. Dave

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Peer review – Week 4 – Charlie Chaplin’s Plea by mahdihussain94

And it is still relevant almost 80 years after it was written. I too found this speech very inspirational. It reminds me of a song that says ” Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me”. We can change the world one person at a time. Jesus said love they neighbor as yourself. Who is your neighbor? The one who lives next to you. The one in the same community. Then collectively the community is called to love thy neighbor. ..then each state and each country until the whole world is full of love. The hippies of the 60 ‘ s still had a lot to learn. They could only love while off their faces on drugs. They were disillusioned by a government who continued to sent men to war…In Korea then Vietnam. We have some good people who have led by examples of how to Institute peace. Chaplin and Ghandi are just 2.

post script. 27/10 I just found this in the comments I’ve made section. I apologise for not linking it here sooner.

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Peer review 20th Century Summative Entry! by kirstenroseanne

The metaphor you were looking for is “Sink my teeth into”, but yes I agree it was a very interesting subject that wanted me to explore further my own thoughts, feelings and attitudes towards racism, oppression, realism and modernism. I do seem old now though, as you said your parents and grandparents lived through some of this-my girl- I lived through some of this! LOL. Thanks for your comments on my blog and I hope to study more with you.

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Peer review- Week 9 – Racism (Islamophobia) by mahdihussain94

Mahdi, Thanks for the insight into what your group is doing. I am afraid that like most people, secular Australians fear the unknown. In helping spread information about Islam, and showing random acts of kindness, you are helping to inform secular Australians and allay fears towards Islam. I applaud you for that.
You may wish to proofread what you have written and correct some grammar and spellig mistakes, but overall a good post.

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Peer review – Week 8- George Orwell by mahdihussain94

The way I look at a figure who is representing an authority like this poor policeman, is like an empty bucket, with an open tap on the bottom. The Rules and regulations are poured in from the top, from his superiors, and they flow out of him from the tap at the bottom. It leaves no room for his own opinions or feelings. He is but a funnel, a means by which the powers can communicate with the people. It sad that he is not able to form an opinion for himself, or to express that opinion. He also has to be the peacekeeper. He has to appease his superiors, but placate also those whom he is policing, for fear of revolt. our own dear Captain and then Governor Bligh is a good example of a man who could not get that balance right.

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Peer review Best Creative Blog by sarasaladino

Interesting perspective. Cubism represents all the correct pieces of the person while arranging the pieces in a different way. I find it interesting too that really only the woman in both of these pieces is distorted. The background is done in whole blocks of colour suggesting that these are the walls of the room. In one painting we see a complete realistic window with autumn trees outside whereas the other has what looks like a perfectly formed picture of a palm tree.
I can look at these paintings forever.

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Week 11 Blog

Write a short narrative exploring, explaining the issues of cultural tension and language that you are faced with in your own personal situation. Maybe the writers we have studied will have released some new understanding? Maybe you might even find a poetic voice to express your new understanding. You could even use Marlene Philip’s poem as a model to follow.

Got a bunga there mate

Nah, don’t smoke

Carn, pay ya back double on the next buy up

Don’t smoke!

Know a mate that does? Get me a bunga and I will look after ya

Don’t need lookin’ after, can do it meself.


This poem I have written is an actual conversation that I had with a fellow when I was at a place where I didn’t want to be. Perhaps you can guess where. I will not disclose at this stage. But you can bet I was right out of my element. I was transported to a culture that I was not familiar with, against my will. Like refugees and other displaced persons, I was forced to adapt or die. To learn the language, or risk isolation or harm.

There were one or two to help a bloke through the transistion period, but I was forever tense, not knowing that the meaning of a word in English was not the same in this particular culture. A wrong word, a playful insult could find you with red liquid oozing from your belly and people walking away.

no one saw nothin gov,

musta falled over

you right mate?

back ta work

form up…

I also remember an incident when I was in high school. Being a fair fellow, I was asked to referee a football match. The trouble was, the boys who were playing, were previously told not to play there. They all scampered when the deputy head came out. He managed to catch one or two and direct them to his office for a caning. I was standing there dumbfounded because I didn’t know what was going on. Then he pointed to me and said “You come too, you’re stupid”.

There was a lack of communication. We were both speaking English, but I had no idea what he was talking about. I was being punished because I didn’t know the culture of that place. So I can somewhat empathise with the Jamaican writer whom I paraphrase here… English, I am speaking English, Its you that doesn’t understand…

This is my last post in this subject. Anyone got a bugle?


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I Believe in Evolution

This essay seeks to highlight that the interests, concerns and experiences of the writers of the twentieth century, are still current to us today.

I believe in evolution of thought, of literature, and of truth. I also believe in the evolution of art and music as forms of communication but that is for another essay.

The question what is truth is a difficult one. In George Orwell’s 1984, truth was whatever Big Brother would have you believe.

There may be facts, and these will be established by looking at all perspectives. This is why policemen take a number of statements; from the victim, from the suspect, and various witness statements including experts who have been educated and can shed light on specific aspects.In a court of law, How can we state that we will tell the whole truth, “so help me God”. At best, we can promise to tell the truth as we know it. As far as we believe, we will tell it as it is, but our opinion of what is true may be swayed by others perspectives.

What is true to one, may not be true to another. I am reminded by an old story

There are four men standing in front of an elephant. They have been blind from birth and have never before seen an elephant. Each man is asked to describe the animal using only his hands as his ‘eyes’.

Man #1 touches the elephant’s trunk and says, “The elephant is this rough, bumpy feeling animal that is long and skinny, and quite flexible.”
Man #2 touches the elephant’s tusk and says, “An elephant has a very smooth and hard exterior, with a slight curve to its shell.”
Man #3 touches its body and says, “Wow, the elephant is a very large animal. Its skin has a leathery texture, and its shape is rather rotund.”
The last man touches the elephant’s ear and says, “Ah, the elephant is a very flat and flimsy animal. It appears to flap and move around quite a lot, which is probably its way of escaping danger.” (healing leaf)

This highlights the different perspectives of truth. If we put all four men’s stories together, then we get a more accurate picture than only looking at one perspective.

In Heart of Darkness, we see the truth from various perspectives as well. From Kurtz, we find that the Congo and its inhabitants are people to be exploited. The natives of the Congo look upon Kurtz as a king… a god even, where the facts are, he is a mortal man. Kurtz’s fiancee would view him as a hero, faithful to the end, whereas The truth is, he was not. The one who held the truth was Marlow, but I believe also that his perspective may have been biased. 

In the poets of WWI and All Quiet on the Western Front we have many perspectives of war. For the most part, one thing is in agreement, war is destructive. War has no value except to harness a hatred, fuel bias and discrimination, and feed the greed of the leaders. The monster of war is hungry, and it feeds on the blood of man. With Churchill imploring young men to war, supported by the poem The Soldier by Rupert Brooke, many thousands of men and boys lost their lives to feed the war machine who’s hunger would not be sated


Another perspective was found of war in WWI with soldiers, keeping diaries, in which they wrote thoughts and poems. Some were poets before the war, some found their inspiration in the trenches From these we see that war was not so gallant. The battlefield proved that it was the cause of the destruction of man. Men lost lives, limbs, minds and mates where the poppies grew.

Literature is a living evolving entity. It evolves with people. In the 19th Century, I believe one was more concerned with the niceties of life. The smell of roses, of love, care and kindness. World War I certainly changed the perception of the world for all. People were no longer content, they were restless. With the war brought a new wave of expression. Men were not able to “Buck up” or “keep a stiff upper lip”. The lip trembled with rage until it could not keep closed and shouted out it’s anger. No longer was unpleasantness glossed over, hidden in the shadows, but people began to admit that things weren’t so ‘rosy’.

Virginia Woolf – Roger Eliot Fry accessed


With the wave of emotion came writers who were able to express what people were feeling.. The Modernist writers began to write what they thought, and what they felt. Virginia Woolf wrote in a style which included internalised dialogue, talking to herself, evidenced in Mark on the Wall and Monday or Tuesday. Fiction writers were writing what is considered to be thinly veiled autobiographies; Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce for example. The written media allowed writers to vocalise their indignation at the leaders of society and indeed society in general. Virginia Woolf was able to champion the causes of women while EM Forster explored relationships in his works. He sought to express and explain love to society through his writing. After the persecution of Oscar Wilde, Forster hid his own sexuality, but in writing The Other Boat he was essentially asking “What is wrong with the love I feel?”

George Orwell. Photograph Public Domain

Orwell spoke of the ruination of the English language through misuse and abuse. Orwell spoke of the evolution of language in Politics and the English Language. He saw that people had become lazy in its use and so it was to the detriment of the language that it was changing. He blamed politics and the hierarchy for this movement away from the natural meaning of words. He saw the use of ‘dying metaphors, verbal false limbs, pretentious diction and meaningless words as decaying the quality of the English language. Orwell implored us to say what we mean.

I think that Orwell pleaded in vain. Politicians and leaders in the community still use these literary and verbal techniques as a way to exclude the average person in society. In essence, what the politicians are saying by using these techniques is “Oh, its too difficult for you to understand. Leave it to us. Trust us, we know what we are talking about.” Those who are not complacent or who don’t blindly accept what is being told, now have at our fingertips. the opportunity to do our own research, to become educated, and to question the status quo. We now all have access to improve our minds and have been given the ability to think critically and make opinions that are more informed than ever before.

The earths population is a transient one. Since WWII we have seen people travelling to escape the tyranny of bad government, to escape war, poverty and extreme hardship in order to find a better life for themselves and their children. With the movement of people, comes the movement of culture and language. The world has become a global community. The integration of cultures within a society has an influence on the language. Dry-Foot Bwoy by Louise Bennett being a perfect example. Her essay Jamaican Language explains how Jamaican language is thought to be a corruption of the English. She explains that if this is the case, then English is a corruption of Norman French, or Latin, or any other language that English has been derived from.

The English language  and literature has evolved to incorporate and express thoughts, feelings, rich culture from around the world to become what it is today.At present, we can see that graphic novels have become an accepted literary form, whereas fifty years ago, these were seen as comic books for superheroes and children’s entertainment. We see the use of acronyms as part of our conversational English and written communication. We see emoticons as a means to express what we are feeling when words can not say enough.

What does the future hold? Science fiction writers have predicted that in future there will be no need for language; that we will be able to communicate by thought transference. Unless everyone has a graphic mind, that is one that can express images, we still have a need for words. As long as people have differing perspectives of truth, we will still need to express our own perspective. God pray that we do not become so reliant on Big Brother that ‘his’ truth is the only one that matters.


2+2 = Art is writers own


Healing Leaf,. ‘How Would You Describe An Elephant?’. N.p., 2011. Web. 16 Oct. 2015.

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Peer review When white men become tyrants

Putting this in context with today’s society; we sell out to the company we work for. We adopt their values as our own for the sake of need or greed. We need to work in order to eat and we like our toys and leisure so pay for it by compromising our own values.
Incorporating lessons learnt in UNCC100, we need to ask ourselves if the values of our company reflect the values conducive yo human flourishing or the common good.
Is our company ethical in its dealings with all concerned. If unethical, then we too become “hollow men” enslaved in our freedom.

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