Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Program

English

Date of Award

5-2010

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Donald R. Johnson

Committee Members

Karen Ruth Kornweibel, Katherine Weiss, Phyllis Thompson

Abstract

White depictions of Aborigines in literature have generally been culturally biased. In this study I explore four depictions of Indigenous Australians by white Australian writers. Thomas Keneally's The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1972) depicts a half-caste Aborigine's attempt to enter white society in a racially-antipathetic world that precipitates his ruin. Children's author Colin Thiele develops friendships between white and Aboriginal children in frightening and dangerous landscapes in both Storm Boy (1963) and Fire in the Stone (1973). Nobel laureate Patrick White sets A Fringe of Leaves (1976) in a world in which Ellen Roxburgh's quest for freedom comes only through her captivity by the Aborigines. I use whiteness and masculinity studies as theoretical frameworks in my analysis of these depictions. As invisibility and ordinariness are endemic to white and masculine actions, interrogating these ideological constructions aids in facilitating a better awareness of the racialized stereotypes that exist in Indigenous representations.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.