Burden of Blackness: Re-critiquing Riders in the Chariot
Patrick White has been variously dubbed including a representative of a settler community. He has been studied as an Australian writer, a homosexual, an outsider etc. He claimed to be an Australian and the world labeled him as an Australian Nobel Laureate. But to be a true Australian identification with the land is a must, and so is the recognition of its original inhabitants. Does Patrick White write as Australian or a writer from the Western literary tradition? If yes, does he just write as a white settler intellectual or goes an extra mile to consider the Native population of Australia? If he does, is it the conventional demonization of the image of the Native that the Australian literature and life had got accustomed to, or an exaggerated deification of this race done consciously for the success of his writings; or he is a writer who is against all oppression by the dominant power centers that he deconstructs in his oeuvre. This paper investigates these issues in White’s Riders in the Chariot; how ‘blackness’ inflicted upon the ‘half-white’ Alf Dubbo by the white father clouds his life.
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