Introduction

My reflections on Australian literature and the impact of Australian literature on my experience and understanding

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Within this semester my knowledge about Australian and literature in general got exceedingly deepened.
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Being a foreigner in this country I did not have a vast knowledge about the Australian past, geography and society before spending a semester here. Hence literature filled these gaps to large extent.
Topics in history, like the first settlement, were covered within Secret River by Kate Grenville.
Australian bushlife was brought nearer via Henry Lawson’s short stories. Hereby he increased my attentiveness for contrasting landscape Australia has to offer, as well as for the contrasting opinions people have. Lawson delivers a contrasting description to many people’s romantic view on the outback or the beaches. Plains of Promise by Alexis Wright highlighted the humiliation of Aboriginals, moreover how they and official organizations deal with it. Various poems, depicting the same issues as well as others referring to the clashes and differences between Europeans and aboriginal Australians, supported my acquisition of this knowledge.

I am thankful that the lecture rendered my possible to get familiar with David Malouf,
not only famous for his literature within Australian, but also internationally respected.
His recent novel Ransom stimulated my thoughts about my own life in terms of humanity
and aims in my life.
He spawned my recognition for simple things in life, instead of always being concerned
about money making, careers and other values that are recognized very highly
– but only by society.

Not only got my knowledge about literature deepened, but also has my appreciation for it rose generally. As I rediscovered my love for books, I was really astonished about the amount of parallels I could identify between the texts I have read during this semester. Due to this I regard my attentiveness for the hypertexts within literature.

Several motifs were reoccurring in several pieces of writing. Firstly there is nature, to exemplify; it is covered by Judith and Alexis Wright, Kath Walker, Henry Lawson, David Malouf. Or the motif of travelling, covered by Johann Wolfgang Goethe in Italienische Reise or Alfred Andersch’s Sansibar oder der letzte Grund. Interesting that Malouf implemented a journey in the story to establish a frame around the meeting between Priam and Achilles. I got the impression that travelling largely impacts your mind and recognition for various things. This, I can back up my own experiences I gained while staying in Australia. Being daily faced with new impressions transforms me and broadens my mind on the whole.

To put it in a nutshell, I am honestly convinced literature helped me to bridge wholes of knowledge I had about Australia and to a broader context inspired me to reflect on decisions I made so far, abandon stereotypes and become more open-minded. Additionally I gained insight into the interdependence of writing, painting and acting as related art forms. Furthermore, I realized to which extent art can help you to point out issues you want to be remembered or simply to express your point of view on affairs.

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