Aussie Voice

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Australian literature has the ability to represent a variety of distinct Australian voices which reflect true values that Australian people and society hold dear. This is demonstrated in J.C. Burke’s novel The Story of Tom Brennan (TSOTB) and Dawe’s poem Drifters, which offer the voices of two typical Australian families to celebrate the resilience of the Australian family and explore the value Australians place on belonging in a community, as well as the importance of mateship in Australian society.
  1. Resilience
The novel TSOTB is set in the Australian rural context, opened with the escape of the Brennan family, after Tom’s brother, Daniel tragically killed two people and paralysed another in the community as a result of drink driving. Burke uses the narrative voice of Tom Brennan to explore resilience and fortitude of the modern Australian family as they must find the strength to overcome their upheaval and find normality again. This is evident through Tom’s emotive dialogue to Daniel in prison, “Daniel…you’re my brother”. Tom’s strong sense of support assists Daniel to realise that his family will never abandon him, exposing the unity of the family during their hardship. Burke further displays the family’s ability to deal with their grief through humour, as Tom’s light-hearted tone in “at least we still had Gran’s saints to laugh about” reveals their need to discover some sense of positivity in their trauma, reflecting the resilience of Australians in the face of adversity.

  2. belonging
Moreover, through Tom’s voice, readers become aware of the strong emotional attachment his family had to their hometown of Mumbili, reflecting the importance Australians place on belonging to a community. Burke utilises flashbacks to depict Tom’s passion in past life through his laconic style and use of slang such as “having a barbie," and “running on a footy field”. This shows his carefree lifestyle in his hometown, which...