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Banjo Paterson was known as the Legend of the Bush in Australian Literature. In his poetry, he used concepts such as identity, nationalism and many others to describe the connection that both the bush and city areas had with each other, so that they could to be romanticised about within the poems written by Banjo Paterson. The language that he used was thought to be very descriptive and suggestive. Hence what role did Banjo have when it came to the following concepts that were used such as colonisation, identity, nationalism and mateship? Additionally, how were they represented within his work?
To begin with, bush poetry gives the reader an interesting perspective into what made the history of this country in terms of Australian literature, which includes the way this country has become today. In the poems themselves Banjo Paterson uses descriptive and suggestive language as his devices to then persuade his readers that the country is way better than that of the city. After colonization occurred and the country was established. Banjo Paterson became known as the bush legend. He wrote about colonisation in his poems, where he began to romanticize about both the bush and city, which he wanted them to become one united country. The poems had first been written, newspapers such as the Bulletin was the first newspaper that had which published the poems. The poetry that had been written was becoming old fashioned and were somehow lost, because they were the literature that was written at the time of colonisation. Therefore, Banjo Paterson did this to persuade his readers into believing that the country lifestyle was portrayed as free, clean and laid back is better than the city lifestyle which was portrayed as dirty, hot and boring. Banjo Paterson also makes the reader believe that the attractiveness of living off the land and idealizing the country life as making the quality of life in the country seems greater than in the city. Banjo Paterson uses imagery and writes in first-person point of view to help the reader imagine what it would be like to be a drover in the rural area.
The two poems “The Man from Snowy River” and “Clancy of the Overflow”, were acknowledged by the Australian people and was in their minds because of the idea of identity and mateship and many others. Banjo Paterson wanted them to be part of his legacy. An example of identity, can be seen in the text of the poem when then he uses reference to the Australian landscape for the city folks to conjure up images of the story which was about the courage, intensity and endurance that was seen in the riding when they were going after the horse brumby that go away. There was also the notion of the Australian way that included the idea of a “fair go”. Especially because it was about the underdog that rises to the occasion of the ride and is triumphant at the end in the poem “The Man from Snowy River”. Then, on the other hand, the poem “Clancy of the Over flow” was the poem that had the strong connection with the idea of mateship. It offers a romanticized view of the life that Banjo Paterson had and wanted to inform Clancy, who was the main character, through a letter that he had written. Paterson had a massive affection for the people living in the rural areas. So, I then would argue that the idea of bringing the country and city together could be a positive one, which could be seen to be romanticized. It could be seen that it was a love story about the connection that both had with each other, which gave some rise to the creation of the poems. It was Paterson’s legacy to signify his legend status.
Therefore, the key role that Paterson had was to gain respect for both the city and rural people so that it would bring them together to be one united country. Before Paterson had written about this, it probably would not have fitted into many descriptions that were being used to describe the outlook of the general Australian. The very thought of a non-Australian coming to this country and fitting in could be unthinkable when it comes to the identity of Australia. According to Ward (1958), the characteristics of the typical Australian society had been forged from the nineteenth century frontier that involved many wars including the Gallipoli landing. This is where the idea of mateship was first used by Paterson, to connect with fellow soldiers, so they could come together as comrades. Continuing, Ward (1958), also argued that the legend of the bush had also been shaped by the many debated arguments that were occurring in other countries (1958). It was then thought to be the idea of mateship that had help the country be shaped by the cultural character that come about in the history of this country.
I would argue that it was through the idea of nationalism that the city connected to the country, and was very important because it reflected the characteristics of the rural people that had a rugged outlook. It also then involved the hardship and comradeship that was present in the outback when Paterson wrote the poetry. Nevertheless, I would then have to agree with Hesltine (1994), who argued that Paterson’s poetry “The Man from Snowy River” best described the typical admiration of the physical powers that were connected to the loyalty is what makes a “mate”.
In both poems, Banjo Paterson uses many techniques to portray the conflicting lives of the city slickers with the rural farmers. But it was ” Clancy of the Overflow” that Paterson used visual imagery to perfection for his readers, which was done by painting a vivid picture of Clancy, leading a jolly life droving cattle and living under the stars. Banjo Paterson compares it with “the foetid air and grit of the dusty, dirty city through the open window floating”. Banjo Paterson also used metaphors, again to emphasise the differences between the city and the country life, especially in verse six, with “And in place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle of the tramways and the buses making hurry down the street” which also appeals to the senses. “Clancy of the Overflow” is a very ordered poem, using metred verse, with a rhyming pattern. Overall, this poem expresses an interesting view of Australia, mainly using contrast to express the point of view that he has been expressing to his readers.
So, then when looking at the other poem, “The Man from Snowy River”, the quotes that were used, were suggesting that Banjo Paterson was trying to convey that city life isn’t as good as country life where you can be free instead of being stuck in an office all day being sweaty and sticky. Banjo tries to convey that being in the country is a better quality of life. “In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars, and he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended”. This then suggests that Banjo Paterson was trying to convince the readers that the ideal Australian person has bushman like qualities e.g. friendliness, adventurous and laid back opposed to the people living in the city who are condescending, unfriendly and arrogant. Banjo also uses descriptive language he uses this to silence all the negative aspects of the country life and any positive aspect of the city life. He uses the words “sunlit plains” and also “wondrous glory” and “vision splendid” to describe the landscapes that were seen when the poem was written.
Furthermore, I would argue that when it comes to the colonisation of this country, Banjo Paterson may have had a view wish was the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to the history, because it could be viewed as being connected to the racists hearts when federation occurred. As well as Banjo Paterson, there were also other writers who wrote about the bush and the city, they were Lawson and Gilmore that had also been known to be legend of the bush but it was Banjo Paterson who was the most significant one that was given the acknowledgement for his writing when it comes to the history of the country that is been talked about and referred to in Australian literature.
In conclusion, it can be viewed that today, the literature that Banjo Paterson had been writing about was in fact one of the main reason that the history of this country in terms of the bush legend that he was best known as being. Was because he had a reconnection to the bush which he loved was because of the poetry and songs that he has written were so heavily engaging with the city and country people. These two places would then be able to connect with each other and have a bond that would go down in the pages of the history of Australia and not be separated.

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