Its my opinion that if a man has 24k gold worry beads, he has little to worry about.
Filed under literature
Tagged as comedy
Except perhaps to worry about the price of gold. . . .
Weird. I cant get into your blog at all to post a comment, so I found your old comment on “why Worry” so I can post my essay here.
Just doing copy and paste from my office program
Remembering Babylon Draft Final Essay
The fear felt in the community: pages 38-39 (Even in broad daylight… the encounter was an embrace)
I will show that Remembering Babylon is essentially about fear and rejection of difference within society, discriminating against it in a way to take control over what happens within it.
a. Jock McIvor is the narrator of this passage. He has come to the realisation that he is afraid. He is not in control of his life. At any moment, what he knows to be true, to be safe, to be pleasant can be snatched away. The community was afraid of the blacks, of the surrounding countryside, and here is Jock, inviting danger into his own home! Was he mad? He is not as brave as some may think. He is small, in comparison to his fears; fears he thought he had left behind in childhood.
He has no control over anyone but himself. In fact, it seems he has no control over even himself; his feelings, his fears.
Jock sees that it is not the similarities man focuses on when confronted by someone or something foreign to him, but the differences. He looks for differences, something to hone in on, that a ‘normal person’ would find grotesque or abhorrent. “…flies that are crawling about in the corner of bloodshot eyes…”(pg.39)
What does one do, when like Gemmy Fairley; the object of your fear doesn’t pull back from you, but warmly, willingly embraces you? When the object of your detest does not cringe or is frightened by the differences it seems in you, but accepts you as you are?
b. This passage focuses on the fear of the unknown, the different and the unfamiliar. It is a focal point of the whole novel. Gemmy sees himself not only as part of the community of whites, but also a member of the black race that inhabits the bush. The community sees him as an object, to be used while useful. They see only the differences not the similarities. He too is human, he too is white, but because he doesn’t dress like them, or talk like them, or smell, or walk, or do other things common to all those in the community, he is rejected; not accepted by the community.
Have we improved since then? We eat the food of land around the world; “Thank God they came”1 we accept the clothing, with hesitation. But we insist they speak English so we know they aren’t conspiring to kill us in our beds. We ignore the problems in countries of the immigrant’s origin. We withdraw assistance from countries because the ideals of the government don’t agree with our own. Yet we call ourselves multicultural.
It is fear of the unknown which causes us to act in the way we do. We think we are all grown up. But when we are not in control of the situation, when we can’t change it, we revert to the child within that really didn’t outgrow the childish terrors “The Bogey, the Coal Man, Absolute Night”(pg.38).
We try to change the landscape, the country and the people into places and people we know. As described in chapter 18 of the text”You would think yourself in England” (pg.157), eat foods from our own societies only slowly embracing those from countries unfamiliar. We “chisel into new shapes”2 the landscape around to suit out own needs, instead of embracing what is and adapting to nature who ultimately will win. How much water, or topsoil and nutrients can you ship until the desert blooms forever?
c. David Malouf has chosen to use complex sentences to have one continuous thought flow through them. To dissect the sentences may threaten the flow, allow the readers to breathe and thus be distracted. My impression is David is conveying the message ‘Hold your breath dear reader, and focus on what I am saying’.
Thoughts themselves flow this way in our minds. We do not stop thinking one thought, and then move onto another. Our thoughts tend to have a natural segway, shifting from one subject to the next in a natural progression. So it is with this monologue of thought by Jock McIvor.
Malouf uses metaphors, similes and sound patterns to express the ideas; for example “visible darkness” (pg.38). It is a language that is familiar to our ears and eyes as readers, and as such, we will not discriminate against it, but accept and embrace it and the ideas it encompasses.
In conclusion, David Malouf does well to highlight the discrimination that exists in our society, not only in the timeframe of the setting of the book, 1862, but also at the time of writing, 1993.
Even today, the different communities all over the world, within a city, within a country do the same thing. We focus just on the differences. We are getting better at accepting oddities in the community, especially in Australia. We consider ourselves ‘multicultural’. But still we cannot accept people when they arrive in fishing trawlers. We cannot believe the horrors of a world that shoots their own children.
3“When will we ever learn”?
Source 1Maeve O’Mara ABC Radio 10 May 2013
2Rockface, Judith Wright 1995
3Where have all the flowers gone, words and music by Pete Seeger 1955
word count 884 (66 for quotes and footnotes) need to bring it down a bit.
Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:
You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Twitter account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Facebook account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Google+ account. ( Log Out / Change )
Connecting to %s
Notify me of new comments via email.
Notify me of new posts via email.