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The Wonderful World of English Resources - Poetry of Bruce Dawe - Study Guide

The Poetry of Bruce Dawe

A Study Guide


Born in Geelong, Victoria, in 1930, Bruce Dawe led a very unsettled childhood. His father was an unskilled labourer who moved the family to place to place in the search for work. This sense of having a displaced upbringing is evident in many of his works.

After failing to graduate with a degree at his first attempt at university, Dawe also began a series of disappointing jobs. This instability in his adult life led Dawe to join the RAAF. His career in the airforce was more productive and resulted in him meeting his wife whilst stationed in Toowoomba.

Dawe is an award winning author whose works have been studied by students all over the world.

Analysis of Poems from Sometimes Gladness

Enter Without so Much as Knocking – Focus Questions

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reveretis …
‘remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return’

1. What is the poem about?
2. Summarise the events in the poem.
3. What does each verse paragraph focus on?
4. What is the point of comparing the boy’s parents to material objects?
5. Explain how Dawe is criticizing society in the lines containing the boy's observations of the street signs.
6. What is the purpose of the boy’s experience at the drive in theatre?
7. What is the significance of the car ride which ends the boy’s life?
8. How does the Latin epigraph (stated above) relate to the subject of the poem?
9. Explain how humour is used in this poem.
10. How important do you think the ideas conveyed in this poem are? Explain.
11. What is the effect of writing this poem in free verse rather than using a specific structure? Explain.
12. Discuss how satire is used in this poem (satire uses comedy as a weapon).
13. Who would be the ideal audience for this poem? Explain. How do you respond or react to it? Discuss.
14. What poetic techniques can you identify? (i.e. similes, metaphors, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, rhyme, etc). In each case, discuss why you think the techniques were used.

To Purchase this guide in full, including analysis questions for the poems: Drifters, Homecoming, Homo Suburbiensis, Weapons Training and Life Cycle, please email the web mistress


Collection of Dawe Resources
Analysis of ‘Homecoming’
Analysis of ‘Weapons Training’
'Enter Without So Much as Knocking’ poem and analysis
‘Life Cycle’ and ‘Enter Without So Much as Knocking’ analysis
Terms Associated with the Poetry of Bruce Dawe
An Appreciation of ‘Life Cycle’ and ‘Homecoming’ by Bruce Dawe
Essay on Bruce Dawe’s Poetry
John Kinsella in conversation with Bruce Dawe

Email: Bernadette Sheedy

© 2008 Bernadette Sheedy