While doing so, he attempted to explore the relationship between the two aspects of the popular folk story: history and literature.
In the story, Knughy deeply explores the characters of the story, all of which plays different roles in creating the story itself. Knughy tried to answer different questions. How could the swagman be so jolly More interestingly, how could the homeless, hungry and tired swagman be so jolly If he was so jolly, why would he want to drown himself
While analyzing the questions popping in his head, he recalls a time by the Combo Waterhole when the folk story of the Waltzing Matilda was discussed by him and his friend. He remembered conferring to his friend that the story needed to be truly Australian. Hence, it should be originally written with Aboriginal words. Only when verified the authenticity of the story as purely Australian can they conclude whether the swagman was pulled down by the spirit of the water after being hunted by policemen or he was drowned because he jumped to the water with a full stomach.
Wharton's version was debated by many as whether it portrays a social reading of the...
A social reading is the act of evaluating a particular work of literature, in the context of its impact to the society. In the time when most people regard 'Waltzing Matilda' as a mere folk story, it is indeed considered a social reading to evaluate the relevance of the story of its factual roots and historical bases. According to the text, the character's mind was in turmoil as his mind was debating what to believe in 'Waltzing Matilda'. Which of the text is fact and which is fiction How can the story be merely mythological How can it be real What was the real reason why the jolly swagman died Did he commit suicide This questions arising in his mind already qualifies as significant bases for Knughy to conduct social reading.
Essentially, Knughy was able to conduct a social reading by recalling images of the past, which could be strong determinants of facts and myths. Suddenly, he recalled his mother's words: 'My boy, never but never swim on a full stomach'. From this, he was able to explore another possible angle of the jolly swagman's death. Hence, since he drowned with a full stomach, his death may not be due to suicide or any mythical reasons at all. He may have drowned simply because he jumped on the water with a full stomach.
It was not regarded by many as social reading because the story portrays Knughy at present analyzing the text, without anyone else to share his thoughts with. However, an evaluation of a text does not require multiple listeners for it to be considered 'social reading'. This is what I learned in Hergenhen's Australian Short Stories.
Contrary to popular conception, I believe that social reading does not need to be literally social; it has to be societal. Remarkably, this was indirectly implied in