The ideology of Australian poetry anthologies for children
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 09:25 authored by Alison Halliday
The poetry anthology is a unique discourse because it is made up of discrete elements. Each of these, the poem, may stand on its own but when placed in the anthology the poems create a text that is more than the sum of its parts. The focus of my thesis is the ideology that is a function of any or all of the poems in an Australian anthology for the implied child reader. The changes in the ideological matrix may be determined for the implied child reader at three different age groups. These are closely allied to particular school stages: (a) preschool or earlier to the end of primary, (b) early secondary school, and (c) the last two years of secondary school. The poetry anthologies for each of these groups reveal changes in the ideology across time and across the different age groups. I argue that there are three dynamic parameters that define the shifts in the fundamental ideologies of the poetry anthology from the youngest reader to the oldest. These are: the movement from the domestic to the societal place, the change from the oral to the written mode, and the shift from the female to the patriarchal orientation. Against these parameters the ideologies of poetry anthologies fall into three main clusters. The first two clusters of ideology are in a relationship of mutual reciprocity. On one hand there are those ideologies that describe the child’s growth to autonomy and personal agency. On the other are those ideologies that reflect the societal shaping of the role of the responsible adult individual within that particular society. The third ideology offers variations of the parameters of poetry itself These are a function of the essential self-reflexive nature of poetry. The core texts are Australian poetry anthologies and in these the framing ideologies may be traced through the changes in subsidiary ideologies such as those concerned with place, national identity and Aboriginality. All the ideologies reflect the metanarratives that shape,and are shaped by, the society which produces and reads the anthology. The poetry anthology is itself both text and context, and the whole reflects the greater contexts of the Australian society in which the poems are written and read.