2BRADMAN’S LAST INNINGS CONTEXT Sir Donald Bradman:born in 1908the most renowned and respected of Australian cricketersof shy manner, he attained heroic stature in the interwar period and captained Australia in test matches against England from 1936 to 1948He represents an era, long gone, when sportsmen were gentlemen and the love of a game, not the 'star' status and huge financial rewards
3Bradman represents an Australia and a romantic past, when the kind of man he was and the principles he lived by symbolised a unified Australians’ beliefs… such as:The dominant Australian cultural ideal that people should have an understated confidence, even in hard times (be positive but not “cocky”).The value of fair play and good sportsmanshipThe Australian value of simplicity - about life and its purposes.
4Poetry analysis… another process option: One way to approach your analysis of any poem (or any text) is find out as much as you can about the subject of the poemHaving a good inside-understanding of the context of a poem can help you SPOT the main concerns and values which are being represented… then you can find the best lines in the poem which “show” these concerns and values
5Foulcher recalls the cricketer's reputation, in this poem, and subjects it to his keen poetic techniques of symbolism and imagery:'Bradman's last innings' is framed by the event commemorated in the title - Bradman's last appearance at the crease, “Bowled for a duck, you could have asked for better....” the irony is created by the cricket jargon “for a duck”. The bluntness of the term used to show his unceremonious dismissal seems too harsh for such an important historical occasion.
6At the end of the poem, cricket jargon links back to the bluntness of the opening line - “four runs short of that century / average, at the last, betrayed by your own game”. Here, the negative and harsh emotive language and the high modality of “that century” and “the last” bluntly shows the experience of Bradman’s last match being more bitter than ironic. The final lines mirror the cruel summation of a brilliant career.
8Foulcher sketches the great batsman's life in the context of its significance in Australian history Foulcher makes symbolic connections between Bradman and Australian culture and history.The poem symbolises the national and international renown of Bradman’s values and life. The poem (metaphorically) reflects the values and lives of other ordinary Australian during the tumultuous years of WWI… WWII… and the Great Depression