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My brother Jack - Influences from the 1930s and 1940s

Uploaded by hotlikechocolate on Apr 02, 2002

Contrast the effect that the cultural influences of Australian society in the 1930’s and 1940’s had upon the development of both Davy and Jack Meredith.

To grow up during the years when there was war and depression would have been hard, but to have on top of this, all the cultural expectations of the time, and an abusive father, would have been too terrible to tell for most.

George Johnston portrays this time in his novel ‘My Brother Jack’, through the eyes of Davy Meredith, a young boy, (who in turn is portrayed unmistakably as a young Johnston), who develops into a young man. The cultural influences of this era shaped the men that both the young boy and his older brother, Jack, developed into.

The Meredith household described just after the war is one of the main influences that would affect the two boys later in their lives. It is a household where war is depicted everywhere; from the memorabilia kept in the bottom drawer of a wardrobe, to the hallway where gas masks, medical supplies and artificial limbs were stored like trophies, and the bodies of the derelict soldiers lying in all the rooms, like some hospital. These memories would play on both boys’ memories for the rest of their lives.

Having this background told to us, later in the story when the Second World War is at its beginnings, we can see how Davy feels he has betrayed the culture that formed him. Unlike the stereotypical Jack-who follows his fathers footsteps and desires to play war hero, Davy chooses a safer role-that of a war correspondent.

During the era in which the boys grow up there is the gender problem. Woman’s social standing was still low. Davy and Jack’s father treats their mother abusively and this is remembered by both children. Because of this, women always seem to be a mystery to Davy. This is unlike Jack, who until he meets his wife, sees women as something to conquer.

Davy stays with basically three jobs throughout the book, whereas Jack is influenced by the time, and therefore moves from job to job, until he gets a job in the Wimmera district. Davy describes this as ‘ an important ratchet in Jack's destiny, it was that job in the Wimmera that closed the door upon his youth forever and that gave him the woman who was to become his wife.(Pg 107)’

During his time at...

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Uploaded by:   hotlikechocolate

Date:   04/02/2002

Category:   Literature

Length:   5 pages (1,056 words)

Views:   1609

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