I think i have just had an epiphany. I would love for other students in my class to read this and see whether you think I might have something here.
Patrick White himself said that all his novels are an exploration of man’s relationship with God.
In RITC, we see that God again uses the simple to confound the wise. Miss Hare is said to be simple but seems to have a vision, when sick, in which she envisages a chariot, and the four riders are revealed thoughout the novel.
My revelatory thought (if there is such a thing) is that Xanadu is perfection. Where God dwells, and people like Alf Dubbo, Mordecai Himmelfarb and Mrs Godbold, who are all seekers of the truth, come to Xanadu at one stage or another and have an encounter with Miss Hare, the messenger of God.
With suburbia encroaching, it means that God, or Xanadu and Miss Hare, are being pushed out, made to look odd, out of place in ‘normal’ lives.
In real life; Are people in suburbia pushing God out and treating people who are fervent after him as outsiders who do not belong? Do people crucify believers with their tongues, piercing their sides with harsh words.
There are four elements of a spiritual life at play thoughout the novel.
- The innocence and purity of Miss Hare, who knows things that she doesn’t let on.
- The deep spirituality of Alf Dubbo, who seeks to understand and reconcile his heritage with his faith.
- Learning and books of Himmelfarb, who is wise and learned but seeks to assimilate with those of no faith.
- The grace, mercy and forgiveness of God as expressed in Mrs Godbold, who continues with her work and stays with her husband even though he abuses her., Does not God stay with us, even though at times we abuse and neglect him. Why? Because he loves us, the same reason that Mrs Godbold stays with her husband.
OK, so there it is folks, my interpretation of Riders in the Chariot.
Comments and Peer reviews please.