Tag Archives: patrick white

Using my work “White is a Metaphor for Power” and “Purity:Patrick White and Brett Whiteley”.

I have noticed that I have had a lot of hits on my previous posts entitled “Purity, Patrick White and Brett Whiteley” and “White is a Metaphor for Power -James Baldwin”. Thank you for viewing these posts. If you have referenced them for uni work of your own, on these subjects, I should love to see some of your writings. My only hope is they are not being plagiarized by people getting their essays written by somebody else. If this is the case; STOP IT. I apologise for being cynical.

Please put links to your essays in the comments below. And thanks for thinking my humble writing worthy of reading,

Dave

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The Tree of Man: Patrick White

I have chosen this post as my best creative post in the course Reading Australia. It is a bit of a review on the book Tree of Man, but I think more it is a reflection on my homelife growing up. I used first person narrative, or recollections to write this piece of creative non-fiction,

Baz Luhrmann would have done well to choose this novel to base his movie Australia on, as it truly reflects life in Australia.

This novel follows the life of a man and his wife, Stan and Amy Parker, as they move from pioneers, breaking bush to establish a home, to the modern day, a world of machines and strangers.

There are various events through the book that expose what it must have been like to live in the bush, as a settler and a citizen of Australia. There is so much in this book that reminds me of my own experiences growing up.

You must go through the clearing of the bush to set up home,

When my dad bought the land at Blacktown for 500 pound, it was uncleared, full of ghost gums, tea trees, paperbarks and stubborn pine trees. They built the house with no neighbours around. Some moved in, but there was still space to play, to mow a cricket patch in the back yard, to raise goats and ducks and hens and children. We built a BMX track around the fenceline and later a car track as my brother and I learnt to drive and ride motorcycles.

We learnt to fight fires. We kept a stack of wet hessian bags by the back tap and at the first sign of smoke the alarm would be raised with the shout “FIRE!” Men and boys would come running, and the women huddled together and provided cake and tea for those of us who fought it.

We lived next to a creek, which flooded every year or so. It wasn’t much trouble though, except for old Mrs Ferguson, who still lived in her wooden house in the hollow, with the dirt floors. The only thing you had to make sure of was that you weren’t fishing for carp or eels when the waters were pushed downstream. We would watch out the kitchen window as the waters rose. The chicken coop was up high enough, the ducks and vegetable patch didn’t mind the extra water that splashed over the banks.

We learnt to read the wind, to know if it was going to be a problem with the trees falling on the houses as limbs separated from trunks. We tied the old ironbark back so if it did fall, it would fall to empty land, not in the direction of the house or chook pen. We shut doors and windows and felt the house shake as the sound of the wind roared through the leaves and branches of the trees.

We had loyal dogs. They respected dad and kept quiet around him but when it was just us kids, they became animated and excited to be included in our games or oversee us so we wouldn’t get into too much trouble.

Thankfully we never had to follow our mates as they march into war. We earned our pocket money doing chores and a paper run.

You learn to read the animals, to live with them, to put up with them or have them put up with you. Snakes? Turn around and walk away. They will go away, then you can come get your feed of blackberries. When the frogs breed, you know that there is going to be rain enough to fill that little natural trough and the frogs will grow beyond the stage of tadpole… if little boys let them. Magpies are homebodies, keep away from the trees where they are when they are nesting, better still offer them food and they will leave you alone, and even avoid your car when toileting from above. It’s the cockies you have to watch out for, they are just mad.

The book Tree of Man showed that one must marry, watch the children grow and have families of their own. Children make decisions and have lifestyles that you don’t necessarily agree with, but you have to shut up, and accept them because they are your kids. Parents can be proud about their children’s accomplishments and brag on those, while being humble about their own brave feats.

Patrick White shows us in this book that to be a spiritual being, one must learn how to read the land. In the book; Disputed Territories: Land, Culture and Identity in Settler Societies, By David S. Trigger, Gareth Griffiths , Neville White writes in chapter 7 how he had brought two elders from the Yolngu nation to Melbourne. The men complained that there was too much noise that they couldn’t hear the land. They couldn’t feel the breeze. they wondered where men lived, and how it was possible that some people in this land of plenty were hungry. “Where is his family?” they asked.

Image result for albert tucker paintings

The Horned Intruder- Albert Tucker

The white man, the settlers have intruded on the land, because they do not read it correctly, and try to manipulate it to their own ends. Nature still wins out. Look at Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. Look at the amount of homeless people due to floods in Bangladesh. These natural occurrences happen, and we as ‘man’ have to put up with it, to cope. Because life goes on.

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on”. Robert Frost

For those who are not connected to the land, who are not spiritual beings, the day to day running of life can seem like a chore. Life goes on, day after day after day.

 

 

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Purity : Patrick White and Brett Whiteley.

In the Interview on the Life and Faith of Patrick White, David Marr makes the point that Patrick had left conservative religion and went on his own search. His exploration took him on a journey through some Christian Mysticism, Carl Jung,

White lived a life of Simplicity. He portrayed simple people as very wise and spiritual people in a number of his books, including the one we studied. Riders in the Chariot portrays Miss Hare as one with great faith, but simple of mind.

The 1979 Billy Graham Crusade was a turning point for Patrick White. He decided that he couldn’t be a Christian any longer, as he didn’t wish to be associated with a religion which was more like a performance…”religion as opera”.

But it is Marr’s comments about the Patrick white book, The Twyborn Affair which perked my interest in purity and Patrick White. Patrick White writes in that book that “What life is about is the pursuit of Purity”. It was important for Patrick. A purity which incorporated moral purity, purity of life, of work and of spirit.

Patrick wanted to be a good man and defined good as being pure.

Brett Whiteley painted Alchemy as an Autobiographical painting in which if one reads it from right to left, finishes with gold, the pure product of the alchemist, and White, the colour of purity.

Brett Whiteley was inspired by Patrick White to the extent that he included a depiction of him in the work Alchemy.Brett Whiteley also left conventional Christianity and  went on a spiritual journey that took him through the world of drugs, and eastern religions. He also looked at Blake at one stage, depicting Blake’s “Grain of Sand” on the same panel as his exploration depictions.

By depicting purity at the end of his life, I believe Brett Whiteley was seeking purity. I also believed he shared the views of White when White expressed contempt at one who was talented but not working on that talent as contemptible. But he saw in the writer Yukio Mishima one who sought to perfect his art, and one who sacrificed all for it as a pure soul; having achieved purity. Mishima had completed his journey and so decided to end it. I believe Whiteley  was in awe of Mishima, and painted his portrait as a dedication to the writer.

We all search for something. Searching for purity seems good to me. I feel I have not let Patrick White down. My aim in life is to share beauty with those who cannot see it for themselves. I strive to do that. My motto is Creativity is a gift, given sparingly, to be used wisely. I think Patrick White would approve.

Dave

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Visionary Imagination: Summative Post

In this course, we have looked at the writings of William Blake, Patrick White, and David Malouf. We also looked at the art of Brett Whiteley.

I have discovered a theme which runs through the whole course.

God can mean different things to different people, but it is essential to life to find your spiritual journey and to follow it wherever it may lead.

Do not be discouraged by others on your journey. They may say “You Shalt Not”, but you shall, just not in their church, or on their journey.

When it comes to things spiritual, some find comfort having a set of rules and dogmas to follow, where others like to be free in their worship of God as they know him/her or it.

Do not be scared of people who are different. Blake and Whiteley may have been scarey to those who knew them. Blake with his fervency and passion for religious freedom, and Whiteley with his passion for all kinds of mind altering substances. Whiteley’s mind scares me somewhat. How many things can one think about at once? Whiteley wanted to express all that was inside him in a sort of urgency, that caused things to often looked disconnected and muddled.

White showed in his novel, Riders in the Chariot, that there are people in our own community, in suburbia, whom we consider different; all on their own spiritual journey. it doesn’t mean one is wrong, and we shouldn’t treat them with anything other than the dignity that should be afforded to every human being. This novel exposes the maliciousness of seemingly everyday people when the are exposed to people or ways that they themselves are uncomfortable with. White himself had an epiphany, which eventually saw him leave the church., but it wasnt until he saw Billy Graham in 1979 that he gave up on Christianity. In his final days, it was said he had a new testament by his bedside. He was asked if he was reading it.He said no, but went on to say, “Well, I will soon know”.

Malouf focuses his novel on a man who is different, but the same as those in the society into which he stumbles. We all must seek to try to understand others, before we start to criticise, ostracise and demean. These different people can add to our lives. Gemmy added value and meaning to the people of the community he stumbled into.

Patrick White was a well known homosexual in our community, who lived with his male partner as husband and wife and nobody blinked an eyelid, except the church. David Malouf is also openly gay. He writes about spiritual issues but himself is not religious despite having a staunch Christian as a father and a mother who gave up her Jewish heritage to be with the man she loved.

Whiteley was raised in a Christian home and school, but turned against the traditions to follow his own spiritual path, along a journey that led him into a world of drugs and alcohol. His paintings were sometimes very sexually explicit.

Blake was a man who fervently followed the Christian teachings but who was not one to be restricted by the church concerning matters sexual or anything else.

These men freed themselves from the restrictions that the world would place on them. It gave them freedom to express the visions they had.

Ones visions and imagination are our own to enjoy, but if we wish to express them, they can be restricted by people or the community in which we wish to be a part.

The people that we studied were pioneers, bravely expressing what was on their hearts. I pray that I too might have that courage.

I have been encouraged on my own spiritual journey. I feel that I am closer to God now than I have been for years. I feel closest to God when I sing about Him, about our relationship with him and how good it is to be comforted by Him who walks with us along life’s journey.

This course has challenged me. It challenged my values and my belief structures. In doing so, it made me release some, to throw off the shackles, and embrace and strengthen others. I have enjoyed studying this course.

Dave

 

 

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Theories of Patrick White:Riders in the Chariot

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.

  1. The innocence and purity of Miss Hare, who knows things that she doesn’t let on.
  2. The deep spirituality of Alf Dubbo, who seeks to understand and reconcile his heritage with his faith.
  3. Learning and books of Himmelfarb, who is wise and learned but seeks to assimilate with those of no faith.
  4.  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.

Dave

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