Patrick White aimed to transform what he saw as a materialist, self-obsessed Australia into a place where something sacred could be discovered in the most ordinary of situations. Stan and Amy Parker embody this extreme ordinariness and their lives are presented as far from ordinary. How does Patrick White achieve this? He does so by close attention to intimate detail, by drawing out the miraculous from the mundane. It is Patrick White’s challenge to his readers to stay with him, attending closely to all that he is observing, and through this, to experience with him something of the glory of this most ordinary of worlds.
This is what he set out to do in his essay “The Prodigal Son” and this is in fact what he has achieved in The Tree of Man.
Blog topics arising from this week’s classes.
1/ CRITICAL: God in a gob of spittle? Can you say in around 250 words what you think Patrick White is trying to demonstrate through this extraordinary moment near the end of the novel.
2/ CREATIVE: “Sometimes the red dog sat and looked at the woman, but not closely as he did at the man.” This is how paragraph 2 in Chapter 4 begins. Use this sentence to write your own paragraph (around 250 words) using what you see to be the ingredients of Patrick White’s style of writing.
3/ CRITICAL: Find evidence on the web for the debates that have circulated about Patrick White’s religious belief. Does he have any?
4/ CREATIVE: Either describe what this photograph shows you of Patrick White the man: what kind of man is he? What does the face tell us? OR Write a paragraph (creative or critical) that shows what you understand to be the meaning of this quote from Patrick White.
5/ Create your own topic on any aspect of Patrick White, weaving into it, where possible, aspects of your own experience of life.
Remember to complete and post your first peer review; remember to copy and paste your review into your own blog (complete with the URL of your peer).
Remember that if you want to see who has commented on your blogs you need to go into “Comments”. There you can accept or reject any comments made.
Enjoy the process!