Describe in a short paragraph the single most important insight or understanding that has come to you from your study of literature this week: Oz Lit, 19th C, or Shakespeare. If you can, say also, why your personal history has led you to this insight or understanding.
Back in Vietnam, I had the joy of experiencing my childhood in the countryside. The way the rice paddy field danced with the wind, the chirping of birds creating a serene symphony, they came together forming a beautiful painting like those hung in art galleries. During this week’s lesson about Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance, I found myself identifying so much with the young Noongar man named Bobby Wabalanginy and how he saw the world. How he recognized different personalities in nature and the animals as his friends, that’s how I used to interpret life.
However, strangely enough, I also found myself sharing similarities with Geordie Chaine, the European settler. His visions were entirely opposite to those of Bobby’s, seeing things only for their values, for what they could bring to him. He failed to see the meaning of things, blinded by materialistic needs and wealth. Although the novel is about birth of a new world, I think it has a deeper, more personal meaning. To adapt with the world, most of us are incapable of staying the same, we are forced to change, leaving the “Bobby” inside us behind and becoming the “Chaine”. Going back to the countryside, I would not see the rice paddy field dance anymore, I would only see the birds as mere birds.
This made me think about my own culture and how disconnected I am from them while trying to conform to modern society. I struggle to see the “Bobby” whenever I look at the reflection from my smart phone and tablet. We all try so hard to be perceived as normal that we have lost sight of what makes us unique, what makes us individuals, and what makes us irreplaceable.
That Deadman Dance has redefined the way I see the world and showed me there is more to things than what meets the eye, not only in nature but in ourselves.