Banjo Paterson’s ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ written in 1899 is a poem which outlines the positives and the negatives of living in the country and city in Australia. This poem is about a man who was writing a letter to his old friend named Clancy who lives in the country. The man finds out that Clancy has been droving to Queensland and know body knows where he is. He starts to think about the life the Clancy is living and compares it to his life back in the city. He criticizes the city and wishes that he could be living the life that Clancy is living in the country. He conveys his favouritism of living in the country rather than the city by using many literary techniques.
Throughout this poem we can view his perspective of what it means to be Australian.Paterson writes about the negatives of the city in stanza 5, 6 and 7. It is said that he is sitting in his dingy, little office where there are lots of tall buildings around him. Not a ray of sunlight can get through due to all of the buildings. He writes about the negatives of the city by using literary techniques to get his message across.
Throughout these stanzas he uses short vowel sounds for example “And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city”. Gritty and city have a short vowel sound to represent how quick paced and rapid the city is. Other words where he uses short vowel sounds are uninviting and fighting. The effectiveness of the ‘I’ sound show .
“Of the tramways and the ‘buses making hurry down the street”. Paterson uses sound imagery to emphasise how loud and harsh the sounds are in the city with all the traffic that goes through it every day. He uses this imagery to create a picture and create sounds in the mind of the reader so they can feel a part of the poem. “For townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste”. What Banjo Paterson is trying to say is that living in the city is very stressful and hectic.
There is no time to sit back and relax because there is always something that needs to be done and there is not time to waste. Banjo Paterson believes that living in the city is too stressful for him and wishes that he could move to the country and live the life Clancy is having without the burden of a job. In stanzas 3 and 4 Paterson romanticises with the Australian country side. He uses long and descriptive words in order to emphasise of how wonderful and great the country side is compared to the city life. He uses words such as sunlit plains, wondrous glory and everlasting stars. These words are all positive showing that he favours the country side.
“As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing”. This statement has a slow beat emphasising the slow pace of the country side. It also contains long vowel sounds compared to the city where there where short vowel sounds.
The ‘O’ sound emphasises the slow pace of life. This shows that Paterson would rather the slow and relaxed pace on life rather than the quick and rapid pace of life in the city. “Murmur of the breezes”.
Banjo Paterson uses sound imagery in this statement. He gives the reader an idea of how soothing and soft the sounds in the country are compared to the harsh sounds in the city. The literary techniques that he has used in stanzas 3 and 4 show how he would rather the relaxation and peaceful life in the country rather than the quick and loud life in the city. Banjo Paterson’s poem ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ uses many techniques that emphasise the negatives of the city and the positives of the country life. Throughout the poem you realise that Paterson believes Australians should not be living the city life where it is rapid and fast paced. He believes that Australians should be living in the outback where you can be adventuress and free.
This poem lets us view what Paterson’s perspective is of what it means to be Australian.