As human beings, one of our quintessential traits is our ability to be directly influenced by the peoplethat surround us. From the instance we are born, we can not help but be permeated by the thousandsof social stimuli that surround us, from family, friends, lovers and even greater society as a whole.Strong correlations can be drawn between who we interact with, and who we become. Indeedinfluential Australian poet Bruce Dawe has a predilection for writing about the nature of relationships,and how they can influence and transform us, and very much so define who we are. In his poem
„WithYou Not By Me‟, Dawe paints a dystopic portrait of life bereft of his lover. He professes how “the
wind like a spinster twi
tches” when “you are not by me”, underlining how paramount
our relationships are, especially in relation to the shaping
of our identity, where we are “diffident” without
the love and reverence of another. Dawe creating vivid imagery in
which we get lost in the “bored blue eyes of the sky”, metaphorically conveying
the loneliness and desolation felt when subjugated toa life without the influence of a partner. We need the comfort, direction and fervor of others in order to help us grow and evolve, like a sprouting larva flourishing into a whimsical butterfly. Perhaps onlyafter this guidance and amity, do we truly find the key to ourselves. This transformation has the abilityto change us from once proud and arrogant beings, to people truly of a benign disposition. This notionis crystallised in Jane
Austen‟s classic „Pride & Prejudice‟, where Mr Darcy states that
dearest,loveliest Elizabeth [...] By you, I was properly humbled."
Whilst there were other extraneous
variables contributing to Darcy‟s „revolution‟, Austen attempts to promulgate how the reciprocal
relationships we have with another can break us free from a cosmos of insolence and ignorance,where we ever so blatantly reject the love and assurance around us unless it abides with our...