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“Dawn is at Hand” by Kath Walker Essay

In the poem ‘Dawn is at Hand’ by Kath Walker, the author attempts to change people’s thinking about aboriginal people. The poem talks about a better future for all aboriginal people and letting go of their past. The author uses many poetic devices such as theme, repetitions and metaphor to enhance her message and inspire the audience.

The main theme of this poem is that aboriginals will be discriminated no more, and they will be equal to white Australians. In the mainstream Australian society Aboriginals are ofter looked down upon, discriminated against and marginalised. This poem is trying to change the attitudes of both Aborigines and the white people of Australia. At the beginning of the poem the author addresses her people as the ‘Dark brothers first Australian race’ she talks about their struggle for justice and when all hope for a brighter future seemed ‘folly’. The author changes the tone of the poem and talks about a brighter future for all of them. She talks about her vision of a future Australia where ‘dark and white upon common ground’ describing equal standing for both black and white Australians.

The poems message is a hopeful one for a better future for all aboriginals. The author tells her aboriginals people it is time to leave their shameful past and enter this ‘brand new day’ where they will be welcomed mate ship wise in industry and enterprise. They will stand a better chance in accomplishing their dreams because they will ‘feel a friendly land’ and will receive a ‘grip of the hand’ which emphasise on the fact that the future Australian society will learn to be more accepting of the aboriginals and will learn to treat them with equal respect. ‘The grip of the hand’ is a metaphor that signifies that the hand shake between the white Australians and aboriginals will be powerful, stronger and meaning full. It won’t just be a split second touch between the two hands, as proven in line ‘fringe dwellers no more.’

The author often repeats the line ‘fringe dwellers no more,’ by this she means the aboriginals will no longer be outcasts of society left to themselves and ignored. As the first line of the poem states ‘first Australian race’ the aboriginals are the original people of Australia, but yet they feel outcast in their own land. The author repeats this line to emphasise their rightful belonging and their move to mainstream everyday Australians. The author even repeats this is line as the last line of her poem to show all Aboriginals and white Australians that Aboriginals will be a part of the new and better Australia.

Therefore author Kath Walker’s aim was to change people’s thinking about Aboriginals people through the use of poetic devices such as theme, repetition and metaphors. She made a clear statement that the future Australian society will not be the same shameful past, and Aboriginals will be just as important as the white Australians.

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