Americanized: Poem Analysis Essay

1056 Words 5 Pages
This darkly satiric poem is about cultural imperialism. Dawe uses an extended metaphor: the mother is America and the child represents a younger, developing nation, which is slowly being imbued with American value systems. The figure of a mother becomes synonymous with the United States. Even this most basic of human relationships has been perverted by the consumer culture. The poem begins with the seemingly positive statement of fact 'She loves him ...’. The punctuation however creates a feeling of unease, that all is not as it seems, that there is a subtext that qualifies this apparently natural emotional attachment. From the outset it is established that the child has no real choice, that he must accept the 'beneficence of that …show more content…
She promulgates prejudice and paranoia, ironically making the child fear what he is to become. The child is powerless before her strength as she pops 'him on the plastic pot'. Even the most basic of human functions are rigidly controlled by his mother, who chooses when he is able expunge that which is no longer deemed necessary, as he 'strains to be a good boy'. He must conform to her desires. The phrase 'it takes years of training' suggests that growing up is about discipline and repression in order to become a part of our modern society. Dawe is critical of the way consumer cultures impose their way of thinking and acting on other less corrupted societies. Entrapment is a strong motif throughout this poem. The child is trapped in his high chair as other societies are similarly imprisoned by the conformist nature of consumerism and capitalism. The announcement that 'Today, I'll let you play with Mummy's things' marks the beginning of his indoctrination into the consumer culture. It is offered as an act of generosity. As the mother goes ‘off to nurse an invalid called the World’, her seemingly selfless actions echo with a sinister overtone the actions reflected by imperialists. She assumes that only she has strength and that the rest of the world is suffering from a chronic disease which can only be cured through immersion in American

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