Australia is the smallest, youngest continent with the lowest population density, which often struggles to define its national identity. As Australia originates from British descent, it lacks originality in culture and heritage. One aspect as portrayed by Tim Winton in his narrative style article Tide of Joy is an Australian identity revolving around summer by the sea with family. Danny Katz emphasises the difference between those considered ‘worthy’ of celebrating Australia Day and those that do not meet the criteria in his editorial Aussie, Aussie, Aussie? No, No, No.
These two texts help to define the open-ended question of, ‘How do we define Australian identity? ’ However, the texts both represent a narrow range of individuals in Australian society and therefore by reading these two texts alone, it is a rather biased view of the Australian stereotype.
Lovin’ Tim Winton’s article Tide of Joy depicts the euphoric period of Australian summer to evoke nostalgic memories and entertain the Australian readers. His text features sensual experiences with emphasis on the effect of seasons on Australian lifestyle the importance of family.
Winton captures Australian identity strongly revolving around the summer and the associated activities such as surfing and spending time in the sun – a naive view of the reality of Australia’s harsh climate.
Sea, Summer and Senses
The text uses imagery and analogies to bring to life the senses associated with summer. In the first paragraph Winton introduces all the senses, such as “The first whiff of sunscreen,” to introduce smell and “The buffering, throat-filling force of an easterly wind fresh from the desert,” to introduce taste.
The use of taste and smell senses immediately brings back nostalgic memories of growing up in Australian summers for the readers. The following lines of “Grapes heavy overhead. The sighing of curtains at night and the feel of sheets on your skin,” introduces the other senses of sight, sound and touch, which finishes the full picture painted by Winton of the image of summer. It incorporates every angle and element of the memory of summer in the first few sentences of the article to introduce the topic of the article. Winton describes the other seasons to be “…merely trials to be endured, time-out in the seasonal waiting room.
But summer is the main event. ” This figurative language depicts Australian summers to be a spiritual experience, almost an anticipated ritual in which the rest of the year leads up to. The article explores the values of putting the events of Australian summer before all others – describing the phenomenon of “hitting the beach with the rest of the population,” which shows the priorities of Australians in summer. He also seems to personify the weather itself, stating, “…the day holds more promise than threat. People wear less and less. They smile more, growing in body confidence. The use of this personification shows how dramatically Australians orientate around summer and how their entire attitude, appearance and actions can change.
Catch ya Cobba
Winton switches between writing in first and second person which encompasses the effect of keeping the article personal with empathetic anecdotes, while still being able to engage with the readers directly by addressing them with ‘you,’ which is therefore effective in persuading the readers to adopt the same opinion of Australian summer and Winton’s image of Australian identity.
The article emphasises part of Australian identity being, “all about sensation, about doing,” as described in the fourth column of the article. Winton illustrates Australians as being passionate for the outdoors and all about being active, striving to achieve as much in a day as possible. Winton describes how at the crack of dawn he went down to go crayfishing before joining the rest of the family to go swimming, followed by preparing the dinner they caught and going for a late night swim reminiscing of the day with family.
This represents Australian days being action packed and full of adventure, always revolving around a new activity or journey. This image of Australian youths living in the outdoors on the coast and enjoying the summer is reinforced in Tim Winton’s series of fictional children’s novels Lockie Leonard which orientates around a young surfer who lives on the coast of Western Australia – the same setting as his Tide of Joy article. This image is also conveyed to Europeans and other foreigners who watch the Channel 7 show Home and Away, which is based around the beach.
The repeated view of Australians being surfers and living by the beach in media implies that even if this doesn’t represent what Australian identity realistically is, this is an image Australians wish to expose to the rest of the globe.
Australian of all Time Danny Katz explores the rift drawn between those worthy of being an Australian and those that shouldn’t, in his editorial Aussie, Aussie, Aussie? No, no, no. The common perception of Australians to foreigners is of a rowdy bunch of beer drinking, Pavlova eating, cricket enthusiasts, who practically live on the beach.
This stereotype is documented in Katz’s article in which he exaggerates and mocks these traits in a satirical tone to convey a perceived image of Australian identity. Many Australians do not agree with Katz’s description of a ‘proper’ Aussie, claiming to prefer AFL to cricket and positively hate the beach. Katz does not explore these other aspects of Australian society – just as Winton did not explore all of the Australian population; these are merely minor aspects of Australian society, which are deemed to create a particular Australian identity. .
The Makings of a Proper Aussie Katz begins the text in a very negative tone with the opening phrase stating he doesn’t deserve to celebrate Australia Day on Monday, which he repeats throughout the editorial. He writes, “I’M PROBABLY THE WORST AUSTRALIAN OF ALL TIME,” – the capital letters introducing that this is a point of emphasis and an indication that this is going to be the focus of the text. Katz begins to describe all the things he believes makes someone a “worthy” Australian such as eating Pavlova.
He then criticises it using emotive similes such as, ‘it’s like biting into a polystyrene cup filled with shaving cream. ” Katz refers to certain food and drinks making someone Australian, rather than Tim Winton’s article, which focuses on the activities one does to make them a ‘true’ Australian. Katz uses a hyperbole to emphasis his feeling of isolation such as, “I’ve seen little Aussie newborn babies suckling from their mother’s breast, with one hand reaching towards the Weber, the other hand holding a lit match. ” Katz shows here he believes true Australian identity is born, not learnt.
Cheeky Aussie, Lazy Aussie, Angry Aussie Once the text is introduced it is clear that Katz tone is satirical to discuss the other Australian stereotypes and how he doesn’t comply with any of them. The height of Katz’s mocking tone is revealed when he compares the tea breaks of a cricket match to a Tupperware party. Katz repeats “I don’t deserve to celebrate Australia Day,” with each topic to keep this central idea emphasised and even gets Katz’s targeted Australian audience asking if they would fit Katz’s criteria of who is deserving to celebrate Australia Day.
The height of Katz’s cheeky remarks on his perception of the Australian persona is the final statement where he states, “But I’ve decided to take the day off anyway. So I guess that makes me Australian enough. ” His implication of the lazy behaviour of Australians evokes anger in the targeted Australian readers, which makes them re-think the seriousness and reliability of the text.
As the article uses a satirical tone and the exaggeration of stereotypes through imagery, hyperbole and analogies, we can conclude the article was written for entertainment purposes and may not be a reliable representation of Australian identity. Katz’s article represents just a small portion of society and therefore isn’t necessarily what Katz believes or even what many Australians believe.
In Conclusion Australia is a young and culturally diverse nation and has different perceived images of its identity.
In my opinion, texts such as Tide of Joy by Tim Winton as well as his children’s novels Lockie Leonard, reinforce the image of Australian’s being outdoors orientated, being active and living on the coast with family. This stereotype is seen by foreigners through television shows such as Home and Away and Bondi Rescue which are beach orientated. These identities are formed from a small percentage of the population, they do not include other social groups such as immigrants or the elderly – only the younger generation who enjoy the beach.
Danny Katz’s editorial Aussie, Aussie, Aussie? No, No No is a satirical piece which highlights the stereotypes in Australian culture and how he, and many others including Australian readers, do not fit into the ‘defined Aussie image. ’ In reference to these two texts it can be concluded that Australia does not have one singularly defined identity, it has many identities for each of its multi-cultural social groups, regardless of its ‘beach going, beer drinking, cricket enthusiast’ view that is revealed through media to the rest of the world.