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The vision of alienation : an analytical approach to the works of Patrick White Schermbrucker, William Gerald 1966

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THE VISION OF ALIENATION An analytical approach to the works of Patrick White through the first four novels by WILLIAM GERALD SCHERMBRUCKER B.A., University of Cape Town, 1957 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF Master of Arts in the Department of English We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA May, 1966  In presenting  t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s  f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l , make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e study,  and -.  I f u r t h e r agree t h a t permission., f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s  t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s ' .  I t i s understood that  copying  o f - p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r . f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n permission',  Department o f . . ^ ^ The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Vancouver 8, Canada  17th Date  Columbia  August, 1966.  .  ii ABSTRACT This study of Patrick White's work i s c h i e f l y concerned with the f i r s t four novels, but refers also to some poetry, the short s t o r i e s , the plays and the three l a t e r novels.  I t traces the development of themes  and techniques i n these four novels i n terms of a r t i s t i c v i s i o n and the rendering of that v i s i o n . The e a r l y , experimental works, up to The Living and the Dead are treated at considerable length, c h i e f l y to show how the l a t e r developments are b a s i c a l l y improvements and variations on the themes and techniques which have already been used.  A second reason for the length  of t h i s part of the treatment i s that, i n the existing c r i t i c i s m of White, these early works are almost e n t i r e l y ignored.  There i s need for reappraisal (over and above  the o r i g i n a l review a r t i c l e s which are about a l l that e x i s t ) , and t h i s study makes a modest attempt at t h i s . The middle period, to which belong The Aunt 1 s Story and The Tree of Man (as well as one play and some s t o r i e s ) , i s presented as the high point of maturity, both of technique and of the v i s i o n which the technique embodies. The works have a high degree of structural integration and the v i s i o n i s presented with great c l a r i t y and imaginative appeal. The l a t e r novels, Voss. Riders i n the Chariot and The Solid Mandala. continue the use of developed techniques from the middle p e r i o d .  There i s an imaginative  boldness  of design i n these l a t e r novels, but the themes reveal a  iii v i s i o n which appears to be declining into personal reverie and dream.  In t h i s period White seems to lose  the a b i l i t y to maintain the stance of i n t e g r i t y - i n i s o l a t i o n which he has asserted i n the two preceding novels, and appears instead to seek some kind of mystic communion f o r h i s heroes. These interpretations of the l a t e r novels are suggested, but not argued i n his study; argued i n several published a r t i c l e s .  they have been In p a r t , i t i s  t h i s discrepancy between the mystical or b a s i c a l l y symb o l i c v i s i o n of the later novels and the un-symbolic, e s s e n t i a l l y n a t u r a l i s t i c v i s i o n of the e a r l i e r period, which has defined the limitations of the thesis presented.  At the present stage of c r i t i c a l  interpretation,  the v i s i o n of the later period appears less s i g n i f i c a n t than the e a r l i e r v i s i o n .  In order that we may resolve  the apparent differences between the two v i s i o n s , i t i s necessary f i r s t to define the e a r l i e r v i s i o n .  This study  analyses the e a r l i e r works, for that purpose.  In the f i n a l  chapter, a suggestion i s offered as to how the l a t e r novels might be approached i n a way that would show the later v i s i o n to be a consistent development of the e a r l i e r v i s i o n , through a boldly symbolic technique. Above a l l , t h i s study concentrates on White's v i s i o n of the alienated state of man, as the central pre-occupation of h i s e a r l i e r works.  It analyses the techniques by which  t h i s v i s i o n i s rendered, examining the tests of the four novels more c l o s e l y than has been done i n any c r i t i c i s m published to date.  TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I II  III  PAGE INTRODUCTION  1  REGISTERING THE SICK WORLD P a r t One: Happy V a l l e y  15  P a r t Two: The L i v i n g and t h e Dead  40  PARTICIPATION AND SURVIVAL IN THE ALIEN WORLD P a r t One: The A u n t s S t o r y  59  P a r t Two: The Tree o f Man  101  THE PROBLEM OF SYMBOLISM IN THE LATER NOVELS  138  1  IV  FOOTNOTES  144  BIBLIOGRAPHY  153  CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION In the arts we find the record i n the only form in which these things can be recorded of the experiences which have seemed worth having to the most sensitive and discriminating persons. . . . The a r t s , i f r i g h t l y approached, supply the best data available for deciding what experiences are more valuable than others. The qualifying clause i s all-important however. Happily there i s no lack of glaring examples to remind us of the d i f f i c u l t y of approaching them r i g h t l y . (I.A.Richards)  Between 1935 and the present time, Patrick White has published seven novels, four plays, a c o l l e c t i o n of short s t o r i e s , two uncollected stories and a small book of poems in a limited e d i t i o n .  Much of h i s work has been ignored  by the public and s u p e r f i c i a l l y recognised by c r i t i c s , and his books appear to have been more talked about than read or understood.  His f i r s t novel, Happy Valley (1939), won  a minor Australian award which probably represented a p a t r i o t i c gesture rather than a tribute to a r t i s t i c merit. His fourth novel, The Tree of Man  (1955), became an Ameri-  can best s e l l e r , and prompted Australian l i t e r a r y society to ask: "Who us".  2  i s t h i s man who has returned so quietly among  His f i f t h novel, Voss (1957), won the 1959  Smith 1.1000 p r i z e , and the Miles Franklin p r i z e ; a Book-of-the-Month Club s e l e c t i o n , and was paperback by Penguin.  W.H. i t became  issued as a  In England, the second and t h i r d  novels, The Living and the Dead (1941) and The Aunt 1 s Story  2 (1948), have recently been reprinted, and the l a t t e r has been issued i n paperback form i n A u s t r a l i a and America. Certainly by 1958 White's fame was growing to large proportions.  In that year a reviewer noted that his name had  already been coupled with those of Lawrence, Faulkner, Tolstoy, Hardy, Conrad and Jane Austen, and  subsequent  additions to t h i s l i s t include Dostoevsky, Proust, Joyce, V i r g i n i a Woolf, Pasternak and others.  In A u s t r a l i a , White  has been regarded for a decade or more as the most serious and important of l o c a l n o v e l i s t s , by a r t i s t s and c r i t i c s 3  alike.  And he has been given prominence i n recent antho-  logies and writings on Australian culture.  One English  c r i t i c has predicted a Nobel Prize for White  and his novels  have been reviewed admiringly by many well-known l i t e r a t i , including Edwin Muir, James Stern, Walter A l l e n , Ted Hughes, Anthony Alvarez and others. Alongside the streams of eulogy there has also been a steady flow of scorn and disparagement, both i n the popular press and i n scholarly journals.  Meanwhile White has r e -  mained s i l e n t about himself and his a r t , except for one b r i e f , factual a r t i c l e published i n 1958.  Nevertheless  the published testimony of some of his acquaintances suggests that he i s attentive to what i s said about him and i s f r e quently annoyed by published misinterpretations of h i s work. In view of the strong interest which White has aroused in the l i t e r a r y world, and the fame which he has won at home and abroad, the state of c r i t i c i s m of his work i s s u r p r i s ingly inadequate.  Although i t i s over t h i r t y years since  his f i r s t publication appeared, no one has yet produced a  3  book-length assessment of his achievement--and t h i s desp i t e the fact that his works appear regularly on the prescribed reading l i s t s of several Australian u n i v e r s i t i e s . Two  short pamphlets i n the "Writers and their Work" and  "Australian Writers and their Work" series have appeared, giving plot outlines and tentative, generalised to his main a r t i s t i c  values.  pointers  Most of the numerous maga-  zine a r t i c l e s which have come out, are also s u p e r f i c i a l and generalised  i n their c r i t i c i s m .  Of the dozen or so  a r t i c l e s which make intensive analyses within a u s e f u l l y limited scope, at least half avoid the central issues and either openly purport to give esoteric interpretations or else seek to place White i n s i g n i f i c a n t relationship to other l i t e r a r y or i n t e l l e c t u a l figures and movements.^ A small number of theses have been written or are i n progress, but only one of these has so far resulted i n a valuable contribution to published discussion.^ Thus we have a situation i n which a novelist i s widely esteemed (and  sometimes denigrated), and whose name i s  bandied about i n c r i t i c a l discussion;  but the fundamental  nature of his works as a whole has never yet been c l e a r l y defined.  As a f i r s t step towards such a d e f i n i t i o n , t h i s  thesis sets out to analyse the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of White's v i s i o n as i t i s expressed i n each of the novels considered. The necessary analysis involves separate consideration of technical and thematic elements--an a r t i f i c a l d i v i s i o n in some ways, but a useful one to be given a convenient form.  since i t enables the analysis Likewise, the use of the  term "theme", though undesirable i n dealing with such a  n o v e l i s t , i s unavoidable; for of  discussing the i n t e l l e c t u a l and emotional significance each work, and of the whole canon.  never simply d i d a c t i c . of  i t provides a convenient name White's themes are  His work i s mainly an exposition  h i s v i s i o n and therefore h i s meaning for the individual  reader i s determined by h i s success i n sharing h i s v i s i o n , rather than i n merely i n t e l l e c t u a l persuasion or narrative excitement.  Thus i n using the term "theme" we must not  be seduced into thinking that White i s making clear-cut statements about l i f e .  He has certain pre-occupations  which he i s concerned to portray i n the l i g h t i n which he sees them, and h i s portrayal i s often l o g i c a l l y enigmatic or  incomplete.  We might expect from the t i t l e , that The  Living and the Dead, for instance, o f f e r s the reader a way out from death to l i f e , or at least a clear d e f i n i t i o n of the two states, and most reviewers have read i t with these expectations.  But that novel, l i k e almost a l l of White's  work, presents l i t t l e more than a record of the consciousness of i t s characters, without concluding how they can g  change for the better.  The nature of White's v i s i o n w i l l  be considered f u l l y i n r e l a t i o n to each of the four novels treated. And, because i n reading almost any of Patrick White's works we are struck f i r s t by their somewhat unusual, and often unique technical features, i t seems best, i n d i s cussing h i s works, to analyse techniques before elaborating the themes.  Inevitably the two aspects are interdependent,  so that by the end of each technical analysis, thematic aspects to be described are already largely apparent.  5 One  of the c h i e f problems i n c r i t i c i s i n g White's  techniques i n t h a t of terminology, p a r t i c u l a r l y w i t h r e g a r d t o the complex f i e l d of symbolism.  To  separate  White's f i r s t f o u r , from h i s l a s t t h r e e n o v e l s , a c c o r d i n g q to a b a s i c naturalism/symbolism  dichotomy would seem, on  the f a c e of i t , t o be a r e a s o n a b l e c r i t i c a l p r o p o s i t i o n ; but i t becomes q u e s t i o n a b l e i n the l i g h t of such ments as those of E r n s t C a s s i r e r n a t u r e of symbolism.  argu-  which r e - d e f i n e the  N e v e r t h e l e s s , at t h i s stage i n White  c r i t i c i s m , i t i s c o n v e n i e n t t o use t h i s apparent  dichotomy,  i n o r d e r t o s e p a r a t e out those n o v e l s i n w h i c h l a r g e s y m b o l i c forms r e v e a l a m e t a p h y s i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e of t h e a r t i s t ' s vision.  A more immediate problem i s t h a t of f i n d i n g terms  f o r the a n a l y s i s of symbolic and r h y t h m i c p a t t e r n s (and the H e s e l t i n e q u o t a t i o n below, p.11, ficulty).  As a w o r k i n g  illustrates this dif-  s o l u t i o n , we can use the terms  " p a t t e r n " and "rhythm" as they have passed d i s c u s s i o n from E.M.Forster's  into current  A s p e c t s of the Novel  E.K.Brown's e l a b o r a t i o n of Forster--Rhythm  (and  i n the N o v e l ) .  And we can d i s t i n g u i s h b r o a d l y between symbol and m o t i f , somewhat a r b i t r a r i l y , as f o l l o w s . Symbols are m e t a p h o r i c a l images.  (As T i n d a l l  says,  humanly, i n h i s approach t o a d e f i n i t i o n , " I f symbol i s analogy,  i t i s r e l a t e d t o metaphor, but the account  t h a t r e l a t i o n s h i p can w a i t a w h i l e .  of  F o r the p r e s e n t i t i s  enough t o say t h a t the symbol seems a metaphor one 12 of which remains u n s t a t e d and i n d e f i n i t e . "  half  Symbols  a r e employed by the a u t h o r t o r e p r e s e n t i n b r i e f , o r i n  6 essence, something which he has c r e a t e d or i s about t o c r e a t e i n a l a r g e r p e r s p e c t i v e i n h i s work. i n The  Tree of Man.  i s symbolic.  The  Thus, when,  Ray P a r k e r breaks a s a p l i n g , h i s a c t i o n b r e a k i n g i s an image of h i s v i o l e n t  d e s t r u c t i v e n e s s , and the s a p l i n g r e p r e s e n t s not o n l y  the  n a t u r a l w o r l d a g a i n s t which h i s d e s t r u c t i v e n e s s i s aimed, but a l s o h i m s e l f .  He i s l i k e the s a p l i n g and he w i l l  h i m s e l f through h i s l i f e of v i o l e n c e a n d  crime.  break  Thus the  b r e a k i n g of the s a p l i n g i s a symbol of Ray's c h a r a c t e r  and  the main t h r e a d of h i s s t o r y , as i t i s t o l d i n the n o v e l . M o t i f s are symbols of a p a r t i c u l a r k i n d w h i c h are always r e c u r r e n t .  There i s no such t h i n g as a m o t i f w h i c h  o c c u r s o n l y once.  They are not a means of r e p r e s e n t i n g i n  b r i e f something which i s c r e a t e d i n a l a r g e r p e r s p e c t i v e , but a means of r e l a t i n g d i f f e r e n t e x p e r i e n c e s s e c t i o n s of the n o v e l s t o one  another.  (which  i s examined below),  different  The r e l a t i o n s h i p s  t h u s c r e a t e d can have two p r i n c i p a l e f f e c t s . the case of the b r e a s t m o t i f i n The  and  L i v i n g and  F i r s t , as i n the Dead  they e s t a b l i s h a rhythmic  pro-  g r e s s i o n i n the sequence of e v e n t s , u n i f y i n g the p a r t s of the n o v e l i n a manner which c r e a t e s something l a r g e r than the sum  of the p a r t s .  W i l l i a m York T i n d a l l ' s words about  a F a u l k n e r n o v e l d e a l w i t h p r e c i s e l y t h i s e f f e c t i n another context: The Sound and the Fury must be read t w i c e or e l s e , though moved, we may m i s s the d e v i c e s t h a t move us and c r e a t e u n i t y of e f f e c t from m a t e r i a l s t h a t might seem l o o s e l y j o i n e d . On second r e a d i n g we f i n d p a r t l i n k e d t o p a r t by e l a b o r a t e d themes of t r e e , m i r r o r , water and f l o w e r - - t o mention o n l y a few.13  7 What T i n d a l l here c a l l s "themes" a r e what I c a l l S e c o n d l y , when t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p s  motifs.  s e t up a r e between im-  pressions (of the characters o r the n o v e l i s t ) rather  than  between sequences o f e v e n t s , t h e r e c u r r e n c e o f t h e m o t i f h e l p s t o e s t a b l i s h t h e fundamental n a t u r e o f t h e a r t i s t ' s themes.  Such m o t i f s form p a r t o f t h e i d i o m o f h i s s e n s i -  bility.  Thus i n The Aunt' s S t o r y . t h e bones m o t i f  (also  discussed below), p e r s i s t e n t l y focusses the reader's a t t e n t i o n on t h e o n t o l o g i c a l  d u a l i t y which i s t h e e s s e n t i a l  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f t h e p a r t i c u l a r v i s i o n o f l i f e w h i c h White i s trying to r e n d e r . ^ B e f o r e p r o c e e d i n g t o a n a l y s i s o f t h e works, i t i s worth considering criticism.  b r i e f l y , some p o i n t s about e x i s t i n g White  I n t h i s way we may come t o a p p r e c i a t e t h e  n a t u r e o f t h e c r i t i c a l problem f o r which t h i s t h e s i s i s o f f e r i n g one s o l u t i o n , and we may a l s o n o t e some o f t h e assistance  which i s a v a i l a b l e t o t h e r e a d e r .  At the present  t i m e , o f I a l l t h a t has been w r i t t e n , o n l y t h r e e s h o r t a r t i c l e s c a n be s a i d t o o f f e r r e a l l y v a l u a b l e approaches t o w h i t e ' s a r t , and o f t h e s e , o n l y two attempt t o t r a c e of t h e p r e - o c c u p a t i o n s common t o a l l t h e works.  some  This fact  would be l e s s s u r p r i s i n g , i f h i s works were i n need of no i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , and i f t h e y d i d not bear such s t r i k i n g r e semblances t o one a n o t h e r , both t e c h n i c a l l y and as t h e y do.  thematically,  The f a c t s as they e x i s t suggest t h r e e  n i f i c a n t conclusions.  F i r s t , White i s a d i f f i c u l t  sigwriter  t o u n d e r s t a n d and needs e l u c i d a t i o n , but t h e c r i t i c s a r e h a p p i e r t o p r a i s e h i s works than t o e l u c i d a t e  them.  Secondly,  8 the timid and indirect approach of present c r i t i c i s m i s l i k e l y to disguise White's achievement by r e l a t i n g i t to other things, rather than illuminate i t by r e v e a l ing i t s innate q u a l i t i e s .  T h i r d l y , unless c r i t i c i s m soon  comes to grips with the problem of defining White's achievement by means of analysis grounded i n the text of his works, his art i s i n danger of being l o s t to the present generation to whom his a r t i s t i c v i s i o n i s a valuable offering. The f i r s t of these points—that White i s a d i f f i c u l t writer needs some elaboration.  The c u l t u r a l and geographic  influence upon his s e n s i b i l i t y make i t d i f f i c u l t to place him i n any d i s t i n c t l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n .  Brought up as a  c o l o n i a l of wealthy family, unhappily intruding upon the English Public School world, White hastened back home at the end of his schooling, aged seventeen, and spent two or three years working on farms. he was  For the next f i f t e e n years  frequently on the move, subject to the influences  of Cambridge, pre-war travel i n Germany and other European countries as well as the United States, three years of "artsy" London l i f e , and service i n the war.  He served i n  Palestine and Egypt, and f i n a l l y , for a year, i n Greece, where he almost decided to s e t t l e , " i n the vaguely comic role of a Levantine beachcomber."  After demobilisation  however, White remained for a time i n London, where his l i t e r a r y successes had given him the choice of staying and establishing himself i n the i n t e l l e c t u a l world. 1946  But i n  he decided to return to A u s t r a l i a , and has l i v e d there,  q u i e t l y , avoiding p u b l i c i t y ever since.  To the undoubted  9 i n f l u e n c e on h i s s e n s i b i l i t y o f t h e s e p l a c e s and e v e n t s must be added those of h i s undergraduate  study o f modern  languages, and h i s d e c l a r e d i n t e r e s t i n music and t h e graphic a r t s .  He admits t o h a v i n g always been  "something  of a f r u s t r a t e d p a i n t e r and a composer manque'".  Jewish  m y s t i c i s m and modern p s y c h o l o g y have a l s o t a k e n up much of h i s a t t e n t i o n , as v a r i o u s o f h i s works r e v e a l . But i f White i s a complex w r i t e r , because o f t h e unu s u a l c o m b i n a t i o n o f i n f l u e n c e t o which he has been exposed, t h e v e r y d i v e r s i t y o f those i n f l u e n c e s suggests t h e f u t i l i t y of t r y i n g t o u n d e r s t a n d h i s work p r i m a r i l y through one o r o t h e r o f them.  The d e m a r c a t i o n o f i n f l u e n c e s and sources  i s l i k e l y t o prove an i n t e r e s t i n g and v a l u a b l e t a s k f o r later criticism;  a t t h e p r e s e n t t i m e , t h e e s s e n t i a l ob-  j e c t s o f study a r e t h e works t h e m s e l v e s . A second source o f d i f f i c u l t y i s t h e boldness w i t h which White c o n c e i v e s and employs h i s t e c h n i q u e s .  When he  p u b l i s h e d h i s second n o v e l i n 1941, he a l r e a d y had behind him t h r e e n o v e l s d i s c a r d e d and one p u b l i s h e d , a book o f poems, two p u b l i s h e d s t o r i e s , and some s u c c e s s i n w r i t i n g f o r t h e s t a g e - - a t t h e age o f 29 he was a f a i r l y e x p e r i e n c e d writer.  W i t h t h e c o n f i d e n c e o f t h i s e x p e r i e n c e and ( p r e -  sumably) w i t h r e a s o n a b l e f i n a n c i a l independence  to relieve  him o f t h e t e m p t a t i o n t o compromise h i s i n t e g r i t y by w r i t i n g t o s e l l , he was i n a p o s i t i o n t o develop h i s i n creasingly  p e r s o n a l a r t i s t i c i d i o m , which i s n o t i c e a b l e  e s p e c i a l l y from The A u n t s S t o r y onwards. 1  In order t o  a p p r e c i a t e t h e e f f e c t s o f t h i s i d i o m , t h e r e i s no  substitute  f o r a c l o s e s c r u t i n y o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l works and t h e whole  10 canon.  C r i t i c i s m must offer guidance on t h i s basis,  and, with few exceptions, i t has so far f a i l e d to do so. Nevertheless, even some of the most questionable i n t e r pretations of White which do exist are valuable to present inquirers.  For, i n the absence of v a l i d , central ex-  p o s i t i o n s , i t i s helpful with an o r i g i n a l and d i f f i c u l t writer l i k e White, to know at least what i s the wrong way to read him, and why i t i s wrong.  In the pool of interpre-  tations there are several honest attempts on the part of Buckley, Brissenden, Dutton and others to argue the merits of various views.  Such published arguments i n v i t e  reasonable  discussion, and i t i s p a r t l y by t h i s means that I support ideas i n t h i s t h e s i s .  This kind of discussion i s p a r t i -  c u l a r l y useful i n examining The Tree of Man--that decepti v e l y "ordinary" book--which has received more general, c r i t i c a l analysis than any of the other novels. The disputing of misinterpretations, despite i t s dangers, does at least provide the interested reader with a selection of d i f f e r e n t views and thus i s probably a more p r o f i t a b l e form of c r i t i c i s m than that of merely affirming the opinions with which one agrees.  S t i l l , i t remains  valuable to underline the names of c r i t i c s whose opinions are f e l t to be v a l i d and pertinent to the pursuit of true judgement.  This i s p a r t i c u l a r l y true i n a study of White,  because i t i s only rather obscure c r i t i c s who seem to have understood him i n any depth and with accuracy.  The short  a r t i c l e s by G z e l l , Heseltine and Loder ( l i s t e d i n the Bibliography) stand out as searching and detailed assessments, based s o l i d l y on White's texts and c l e a r l y argued  11 w i t h i n the l i m i t s of t h e i r defined i n t e n t i o n s .  These  t h r e e a r t i c l e s have two common f e a t u r e s (which t h i s thesis also purports to share): viewing  F i r s t , they i n s i s t on  each n o v e l as p a r t o f a w i d e r development which  the canon r e p r e s e n t s ,  so t h a t each work stands complete  w i t h i n i t s e l f , but a c q u i r e s a much f u l l e r meaning when seen as p a r t o f t h e whole.  Secondly, t h e y r e c o g n i s e  that  White i s "a man obsessed w i t h t h e images which c o n s t i t u t e his sensibility"^  and t h a t i t i s o n l y when t h e reader  g r a s p s h i s use o f t h e image i n t h e symbolic  and m o t i v a l  i d i o m which he c r e a t e s t o r e n d e r h i s v i s i o n , t h a t h i s themes can a c h i e v e  t h e f u n c t i o n o f a r t i s t i c communication.  H e s e l t i n e i s w o r t h q u o t i n g on t h i s : From h i s v e r y e a r l i e s t work, t h e r e has been e s t a b l i s h e d i n White's work a l a r g e fund o f r e c u r r i n g i n t e r e s t s which f o r c e t h e i r way i n t o h i s p r o s e as c h a r a c t e r s , s i t u a t i o n s , images. I t i s t h i s fund of images, metaphors, v e r b a l m o t i f s , w h i c h i s a t t h e b a s i s , n o t o n l y o f h i s s e n s i b i l i t y , but o f h i s s t y l e . White's whole c a r e e r can be seen as t h e p r o g r e s s i v e e x p l i c a t i o n of the m a t e r i a l s of h i s s e n s i b i l i t y i n t o the p a t t e r n e d and e v a l u a t e d elements o f h i s mature style. I n b r i n g i n g the basic s t i m u l i of h i s i m a g i n a t i o n more and more i n t o t h e foreground o f h i s j u d g i n g mind, White has developed a r i c h v o c a b u l a r y of f e e l i n g , emotion, and b e l i e f , an i n t e r l o c k i n g and c o n s i s t e n t p a t t e r n o f image and symbol.(62) C r i t i c s a s i d e , our p r i m a r y c o n c e r n must be, as I have s a i d , w i t h t h e t e x t o f White's n o v e l s , and t h e v i s i o n w h i c h they r e v e a l .  A v i s i o n o f l i f e a r i s i n g i n a complex and  r e f i n e d s e n s i b i l i t y , and t h e r e n d e r i n g o f t h a t v i s i o n through a p a t t e r n e d  and o r i g i n a l a r t i s t i c i d i o m , do n o t  12 make f o r easy r e a d i n g .  White's n o v e l s have o f t e n been  c a l l e d p o e t i c , and some o f T . S . E l i o t ' s remarks a r e d i r e c t l y r e l e v a n t t o him: P o e t s i n our c i v i l i z a t i o n , as i t e x i s t s a t p r e s e n t , must be d i f f i c u l t . Our c i v i l i z a t i o n comprehends g r e a t v a r i e t y and c o m p l e x i t y , and t h i s v a r i e t y and c o m p l e x i t y , p l a y i n g upon a r e f i n e d s e n s i b i l i t y , must produce v a r i o u s and complex r e s u l t s . The poet must become more and more comprehensive, more a l l u s i v e , more i n d i r e c t , i n o r d e r t o f o r c e , t o d i s l o c a t e i f n e c e s s a r y , language i n t o h i s meaning.19 To plumb White's meaning, we have t o r e a d and r e - r e a d ; we have o f t e n t o stop and t h i n k i n o r d e r t o t r y and appreciate a particular effect.  E v e n t u a l l y , as we become more  and more f a m i l i a r w i t h h i s methods and h i s v i s i o n , we a r e a b l e t o r e a d him w i t h o u t i n t e r r u p t i o n , and then t h e f u l l f o r c e o f a r t i s t i c communication i s a c h i e v e d .  There w i l l  always be some r e a d e r s who a r e n o t " c a p t u r e d by t h e i n i t i a l appeal o f t h e t e x t u r e " and who w i l l t h e r e f o r e " r e s e n t h a v i n g 20 to hunt f o r t h e t o t a l meaning o f a n o v e l " . White's t e c h n i c a l performance becomes, f o r them, an a r t i f i c i a l 21 and u n e x c i t i n g " e x e r c i s e i n t h e drawing-room"  . For  o t h e r s , t h e l a b o u r i s d e c i d e d l y w o r t h - w h i l e , as i t g i v e s them a new and v a l u a b l e way of s e e i n g l i f e ;  and t h e d i s -  c o v e r y o f t h a t s i g n i f i c a n t v i s i o n through t h e c l o s e l y woven p a t t e r n s and rhythms of word and image i s a source o f surprising aesthetic pleasure.  F o r such r e a d e r s " t h e i n i -  t i a l a p p e a l o f t h e t e x t u r e " expands i n t o a f u l l e r  satis-  f a c t i o n w i t h each c a r e f u l r e a d i n g . F i n a l l y , I should p o i n t out that i n l i m i t i n g t h i s  study  13 almost e x c l u s i v e l y t o the f i r s t f o u r n o v e l s , two are s e r v e d — o n e p r a c t i c a l and first  purposes  the o t h e r c r i t i c a l .  The  i s s i m p l y t h a t of a l l o w i n g enough space t o each of  the f o u r n o v e l s , t o be a b l e to i n v e s t i g a t e i t i n s u f f i c i e n t depth.  S i g n i f i c a n t elements of theme and t e c h n i q u e  explicated i n detail.  are  O f t e n i t has been d e s i r a b l e t o d w e l l  at g r e a t l e n g t h on what m i g h t , at f i r s t  s i g h t , appear t o  be d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y s l i g h t d e t a i l s .  Only thus have I  been a b l e t o show how  White a c h i e v e s  for  a s e n s i t i v e reader,  The  critical  significant effects  through the most e c o n o m i c a l means.  purpose i s t h a t of s t r e s s i n g the r e l a t i v e  p o r t a n c e of the e a r l i e r n o v e l s i n the t o t a l canon. t h e s e n o v e l s have had no s p e c i a l i s e d , c r i t i c a l at a l l , and preludes it his  im-  Two  of  attention  a l l f o u r tend o f t e n to be r e g a r d e d as mere  t o the massive achievement of Voss and R i d e r s .  seems t o me  t h a t i n t h e s e f i r s t n o v e l s White r e n d e r s  v i s i o n most c l e a r l y ( i f c o m p l e x l y ) ,  and  t h a t the  vision  i t s e l f i s more m e a n i n g f u l because i t i s not i m p a i r e d metaphysical  Yet  a d d i t i o n s and  by  the  the tendency to p r i v a t e b i t t e r -  n e s s which e x i s t i n v a r y i n g degree i n the t h r e e l a t e r books. T h i s i s not t o d e p r e c i a t e the t o t a l v a l u e of the l a t e r nor t o suggest t h a t the e a r l i e r f o u r are White's most p r e s s i v e work on a l l c o u n t s .  novels, im-  For i n s t a n c e , Voss i s the  p r o d u c t of a much more c o n t r o l l e d and mature  technique  than Happy V a l l e y , w h i l e the range of i n t e r e s t i n R i d e r s i s d e c i d e d l y g r e a t e r than t h a t i n The Aunt's S t o r y .  And  the Himmelfarb s e c t i o n i n R i d e r s i s a t r i u m p h by almost d e f i n i t i o n of the m o r a l f u n c t i o n of the n o v e l .  However,  i n terms of s i g n i f i c a n c e of v i s i o n - - o f a r t as a v e h i c l e  any  14 f o r the r e n d e r i n g of p e r c e p t i o n and s e n s a t i o n , r a t h e r t h a n a t o o l of s u p e r n a t u r a l i n s i g h t or the p r o j e c t i o n of dreams and hopes--the f i r s t f o u r n o v e l s , e s p e c i a l l y The A u n t s S t o r y and The Tree of Man a r e White's most 1  c o n s i d e r a b l e achievement.  That, a t l e a s t i s t h e argument  of t h i s t h e s i s , as f a r as i t goes. chapter,  I o f f e r a new  I n the b r i e f ,  final  s u g g e s t i o n as t o how the t h r e e  l a t e r n o v e l s might be read as b o l d , new t e c h n i c a l forms, embodying  the c o n s i s t e n t v i s i o n of the e a r l i e r p e r i o d .  T h i s s u g g e s t i o n , however, d e r i v e s l i t t l e  support from  the d i v e r s e c r i t i q u e s w h i c h have so f a r appeared, and would r e q u i r e a separate t h e s i s f o r i t s s u b s t a n t i a t i o n .  15 CHAPTER I I REGISTERING THE SICK WORLD Here i s no n o t i o n o f k e e p i n g a r t f r e e from m i d d l e brow p r e o c c u p a t i o n s l i k e s o c i a l r e a l i t y ; but an anguished c o n c e r n t o r e g i s t e r a s i c k w o r l d and t o make c o n t a c t w i t h something which might r e s t o r e t h e s p r i n g s o f human goodness and v i t a l i t y . (John H o l l o w a y on The Waste L a n d ) l PART 1.  HAPPY VALLEY  Throughout h i s n o v e l s , White i s p r i m a r i l y concerned w i t h man's s t a t e o f a l i e n a t i o n from t h e w o r l d i n w h i c h he lives.  In the l a t e r novels,  the state of a l i e n a t i o n i s  seen t o c o n s i s t i n two c o n d i t i o n s - - o n t o l o g i c a l d u a l i t y and  i n d i v i d u a l i s o l a t i o n — a n d t h e e x p e r i e n c e o f t h e s e con-  d i t i o n s - - l i f e - - i s explored of v i e w .  from s e v e r a l d i f f e r e n t s p o i n t s  I n t h e f i r s t two n o v e l s , White does not see t h e  components o f a l i e n a t i o n so c l e a r l y as he does l a t e r , and h i s point of view i s l i m i t e d t o that of the h i g h l y c o n s c i o u s and a r t i c u l a t e k i n d o f p e r s o n . enter  self-  He i s u n a b l e t o  i m a g i n a t i v e l y i n t o the consciousness of i n a r t i c u l a t e  or s l o w - w i t t e d  people.  As a r e s u l t h i s treatment o f t h e  l a t t e r i s somewhat c o n f u s e d and l a c k s m o r a l r e a l i s m . i characters  2  The  o f t h e two n o v e l s form a s c a l e of t h e v a r i o u s  p o s s i b i l i t i e s of i n t e l l e c t u a l l u c i d i t y , of r a t i o n a l s e l f awareness;  but White's sympathy i s c l e a r l y w i t h those a t  the upper end o f t h e s c a l e .  H i s rendering  of the conscious-  16 ness of i n a r t i c u l a t e p e o p l e i s g i v e n from an e x t e r n a l , l a r g e l y s a t i r i c p o i n t of v i e w , i n which s o c i a l i s mixed w i t h i n t e l l e c t u a l snobbery.  criticism  In the l a t e r  novels,  White d i s t i n g u i s h e s between i n t e l l e c t u a l d i s h o n e s t y  and  i n t e l l e c t u a l r e t a r d a t i o n , and r e s e r v e s h i s s a t i r e f o r the f o r m e r , w h i l s t the l a t t e r r e c e i v e s a g r e a t d e a l of sympathy. I n Happy V a l l e y , and  ( t o a l e s s e r e x t e n t ) The  Living  and  the Dead, the d i s t i n c t i o n i s b l u r r e d i n the g e n e r a l c o n t e n t w i t h the n a t u r e of e x i s t e n c e . v i s i o n i s the major d e f e c t of the two  dis-  T h i s l i m i t a t i o n of e a r l y novels just  as  the range of v i s i o n , and the c l a r i t y and f o r c e w i t h which i t i s rendered  are the major achievements of the two  sub-  sequent n o v e l s . D e s p i t e t h e i r l i m i t a t i o n s of theme and t e c h n i q u e ral  of w h i c h are d e a l t w i t h below),  the f i r s t two  are i n t e g r a l p a r t s of the White canon.  (seve-  novels  As such they have  c o n s i d e r a b l e v a l u e f o r the r e a d e r , both as s e p a r a t e  works  of a r t and as p a r t s of the t o t a l o e u v r e . a. HAPPY VALLEY:  TECHNIQUE  S t y l i s t i c a l l y , Happy V a l l e y i s a p a s t i c h e .  In t h i s  n o v e l , White r e v e a l s v i r t u o s i t y i n the use of a number of o r i g i n a l and d e r i v a t i v e methods, but he has not y e t to The  learned  r e s o l v e the v a r i o u s elements i n t o an a r t i s t i c u n i t y . f o r m a l u n i t y which does e x i s t i s somewhat too  artificial,  somewhat too c o n t r i v e d , b e i n g s i m p l y an o v e r - a l l s t r u c t u r e imposed upon a h o t c h - p o t c h i r r e l e v a n t and did  of elements which are sometimes  sometimes d i s c o r d a n t .  I t i s as though White  not r e a l i s e the i m p l i c a t i o n s , f o r the work as a whole,  17 of what he has done i n i n d i v i d u a l p a r t s of i t .  The  r e s u l t i s a somewhat d i s o r g a n i s e d l i n k i n g t o g e t h e r of u n r e l a t e d o r o v e r p l a y e d t o u r s de f o r c e . The most s t r i k i n g o f these d e f e c t s i s the o v e r - i n dulgence  o f the s t r e a m - o f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s  t e c h n i q u e , which  has the e f f e c t of a l l o w i n g v a r i o u s c h a r a c t e r s - - e s p e c i a l l y the main one, O l i v e r - - t o be c o n s c i o u s of too much f o r the s t a t e of development which they are supposed t o have reached a t a g i v e n p o i n t i n the n o v e l .  Two  examples w i l l  illustrate  this. In the two y e a r s o r so i n which the a c t i o n t a k e s p l a c e , O l i v e r H a l l i d a y goes through a number of  experiences  from w h i c h he a p p a r e n t l y manages t o d e r i v e a s a t i s f a c t o r y a t t i t u d e to l i f e .  This i s presented  i n h i s thoughts  at  the end of the book: A f l u x of moving t h i n g s , l i k e e x p e r i e n c e , f u s e d , and A l y s Brown, he f e l t , i s p a r t of me f o r a l l t i m e , t h i s i s not a l t o g e t h e r l o s t , i t i s s t i l l an i n t i m a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p t h a t no v i o l e n c e can m o r t i f y . T h i s i s the p a r t of man, t o w i t h s t a n d through h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p s the ebb and f l o w of the seasons, the s u l l e n h o s t i l i t y of r o c k , the a n a s t h e s i a of snow, a l l those p a s s i o n s t h a t sweep down through n e g l i g e n c e or d e s i g n t o consume and d e s o l a t e , f o r through H i l d a and A l y s he can w i t h s t a n d , he i s immune from a l l but d e s t r u c t i o n of the i n e s s e n t i a l o u t e r s h e l l , (p.327)3 Now  t h i s i s a p e r f e c t l y i n t e l l i g i b l e c o n c l u s i o n inasmuch  as we have f o l l o w e d O l i v e r i n h i s s e a r c h f o r v a l u e s and h i s d i s c o v e r y of them, through h i s e x p e r i e n c e w i t h A l y s , i n terms now  presented  i n t h i s f i n a l passage.  We n o t i c e  the passage b e g i n s i n O l i v e r ' s c o n s c i o u s n e s s and ends  how  18  i n d i r e c t l y , as though the n a r r a t o r i s speaking he can w i t h s t a n d . O l i v e r has now  ("...  . . . " ) , and from t h i s we r e c o g n i s e  that  a c q u i r e d the i n s i g h t w h i c h the n a r r a t o r  been l e a d i n g him t o i n the c o u r s e of the s t o r y :  t h a t human  r e l a t i o n s h i p s are man's o n l y source of s t r e n g t h and i n the w o r l d of v i o l e n c e and d e a t h .  has  comfort  But much e a r l i e r i n  the n o v e l , and even b e f o r e O l i v e r had met  A l y s , White  p r e s e n t s O l i v e r c o g i t a t i n g on the n a t u r e of l i f e and  show-  ing  p.74,  t h a t he has i n s i g h t a l r e a d y .  He r e c o g n i s e s , on  t h a t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s w i f e i s something t h a t must be m a i n t a i n e d ,  i n s p i t e of the decay of h i s romantic  because i t b r i n g s "order out of chaos."  I t would be  ideals, no  good t o " t i p the whole l o t o v e r b o a r d . . . because H i l d a and Rodney and George c l u n g t o the fragments, were founded on something t h a t you thought had e x i s t e d b e f o r e "  (p.74).  So he a l r e a d y knows what he i s seen to d i s c o v e r a t the  end  of the book. A g a i n , when he i s at M o r i a r t y ' s b e d s i d e , o n l y a t h i r d of the way  through the book, O l i v e r r e v e a l s  implicitly  t h a t he has a l r e a d y d i s c o v e r e d t h a t man's best c o u r s e i s "to  withstand  of the seasons  t h r o u g h h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p s the ebb and u  E  T  C  J]  flow  :  I dare say most of us are a f r a i d . . . and most of i t r i s e s out of a f e e l i n g of being a l o n e . Being a l o n e i s b e i n g a f r a i d . Perhaps one day w e ' l l a l l wake up to the f a c t t h a t we're a l l a l o n e , t h a t we're a l l a f r a i d and then i t ' l l j u s t be too damn s i l l y t o go on b e i n g a f r a i d , (pp. 124-5) T h i s l a s t example i s n o t , of c o u r s e , a p i e c e of stream of c o n s c i o u s n e s s ;  but the f i r s t  example i s , and i t i s  19 typical  o f t h e way i n w h i c h t h e d e f e c t e m e r g e s .  t h e f e e l i n g as one r e a d s , satisfying  t a s k of c a p t u r i n g meaning  when t h e r e i s  an a b s e n c e o f  stream of consciousness his  that White i s  t h e book i s  artificial  from a p r o g r e s s i v e experience.  i n words,  gress  i s undeniable  The e p i g r a p h  Oliver,  course  of  earlier. with his  by t h e amount o f  and f i n a l l y makes  But b e c a u s e O l i v e r ' s s u f f e r i n g , we f e e l  with the epigraph  through  for  "Pro-  suffering  under  does not  that the conclusion  develop  seduced  by h i s  t o do w i t h  What h a p p e n s  is  own s u c c e s s i n  so t h a t t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p s  too p o s i t i v e a value  i n t h e way t h e O l i v e r / A l y s Alys,  relationship  Oliver  feels that  a b a r r i e r between them,  b u t as t h e Schumann r e l a x e s  formal self-consciousness,  looking  i n t o her,  to  human acquire  f o r t h e n o v e l W h i t e i s w r i t i n g . We c a n  When he f i r s t v i s i t s  their  begin  that  handling  an e s s e n t i a l l y L a w r e n t i a n t e c h n i q u e f o r d e s c r i b i n g  communication;  quoted  belongs  t e c h n i c a l d e f e c t of t h e n o v e l has  c o n v e n t i o n a c t s as  a  and n o t w i t h t h e n o v e l .  White apparently i s  see t h i s  the  artificial  the statement  awareness  a way i n w h i c h O l i v e r d o e s d e v e l o p .  relationships,  the  t h a t White planned this  of  arise  as t h e c e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r , u n d e r g o e s  suffering  A second  at  from Ghandi prepares us  . . . t o be m e a s u r e d  gone;"  sight  c l a r i f i c a t i o n of understanding  Yet i t  the  as  i t does not  book w i t h t h e i n t e n t i o n o f d e m o n s t r a t i n g conclusion:  in  such  The c o n c l u s i o n  because  has  particularly  t h a t he l o s e s '  o v e r - a l l p l a n of development.  end o f  so a b s o r b e d  formal r e s t r a i n t ,  provides,  One  develops. social  preventing t h e m , and m e l t s  we a r e t o l d ,  "he  was  a t a c o r e t h a t he had n o t n o t i c e d a s  she  20 winced i n the d i s p e n s a r y and p i t i e d h e r s e l f . " asks why  Then he  she changed her name:  "I t h i n k I wanted t o be d i f f e r e n t . . . . T h a t ' s the o n l y r e a s o n , I suppose. " " I t ' s a p r e t t y honest r e p l y . " "You don't l e a v e many loopholes,'"'she s a i d L o o k i n g i n t o her f a c e had been t o l o o k i n t o an avenue t h a t made him f e e l suddenly u n f u l f i l l e d and c o l d . (p.103) And from t h i s he comes t o r e a l i s e t h a t he has never  "touched  the k e r n e l " i n h i s w i f e : A l l my p r e s e n t t r a n q u i l i t y i s n o t h i n g t o h e r , i t cannot r e a c h i n s i d e and t o u c h t h a t k e r n e l w h i c h , i n c i d e n t a l l y I have never touched and don't know how. (p.118) From t h i s k i n d l i n g i n O l i v e r of a sense of " o t h e r n e s s " of b e i n g White c o n t i n u e s t o develop the r e l a t i o n s h i p i n L a w r e n t i a n terms: p l o r e a new  O l i v e r and A l y s become l o v e r s and  dimension of human r e l a t i o n s h i p .  ex-  They f e e l  t h a t t h e i r a c t i o n i s m o r a l because they know i t t o be r e a l by c o n t r a s t w i t h the mock l o v e p r e s e r v e d by s o c i a l custom, i n a m a r r i a g e which has d i e d .  Then, as a c o n t r a s t t o t h e i r  r e l a t i o n s h i p , the Sidney-Hagen-Ketnble  t r i a n g l e i s presented  i n a manner v e r y r e m i n i s c e n t of S t . M.awr. S i d n e y ,  like  Lawrence's Lou, i s the w e l l - t o - d o young l a d y , h i g h l y c r i t i c a l o f the men  i n her w o r l d , e s p e c i a l l y of t h e e f f e t e  Kemble ( e q u i v a l e n t t o Lawrence's R i c o ) who  finds i t very  t r y i n g t o r i d e a h o r s e out i n t o the bush, and whose i d e a l women a r e " c r e a t u r e s . . . seen through the d i s t a n c e of a speech-day c r i c k e t match or a May Week haze upon the (p.140)  Hagen, l i k e P h o e n i x , i s a s o r t o f s e x u a l  p i c k i n g up a n y t h i n g he can g e t . s t o r y , Mrs. W i t t was determined  And,  Cam."  scavenger,  j u s t as i n Lawrence's  t o marry the groom L e w i s ,  21 when he d e f i e d her, so Sidney yearns t o dominate Hagen when he becomes i n s o l e n t towards her.  Sidney's  a c t i s p r e s e n t e d as an immoral use of sex as an  degrading instrument  of power. But i n the Sidney/Kemble/Hagen set of r e l a t i o n s h i p s , t h e r e i s no S t . Mawr, so t h a t Lawrence's p o s i t i v e v i e w of sex does not i n t r u d e on White's s t o r y .  I n the O l i v e r / A l y s  a f f a i r i t does i n t r u d e , and t h i s i s where the d e f e c t becomes apparent.  Indeed, when we r e a l i s e how  incompatible with  the o v e r - a l l theme of Happy V a l l e y i s the development of O l i v e r as a L a w r e n t i a n hero, saved by the r e c o g n i t i o n of " o t h e r n e s s " i n h i m s e l f and A l y s , we are not s u r p r i s e d t o f i n d t h a t White f i n a l l y b r i n g s the development t o a s e n t i mental c o n c l u s i o n i n o r d e r t o escape from i t . t h a t h i s a f f a i r w i t h A l y s was  Oliver  decides  a f i n d i n g o f h i m s e l f not t o  be r e g r e t t e d , but t h a t i t must not go  on:  The w o r l d makes i t s demand, I s h a l l r u n away from m y s e l f because of H i l d a , I s h a l l c l o s e my eyes. This i s the w o r l d , t h i s i s Happy V a l l e y . T h i s i s a l s o not the w o r l d . I stand here and i t i s c o o l , the s t a r s are c o o l , and the r a i n which w i l l not s t o p . I t i s a v e r y l o n g time s i n c e I have r e a l l y been c o n s c i o u s of these t h i n g s , f e l t t h e i r s i g n i f i c a n c e . . . people walking w i t h upturned f a c e s , l o o k i n g f o r something which they do not f i n d i n themselves, always w i t h f a c e s u p t u r n e d . I must remain c o n s c i o u s of t h e s e , he s a i d . T h i s i s the w o r l d , t h a t i g n o r e s i t s e l f , f i n d i n g i t s e x p e r i e n c e i n c l e a v a g e and p a i n , the n o t - w o r l d t h a t demands I s h a l l run away from m y s e l f , t h a t I too s h a l l be a c r e a t u r e of c l e a v a g e and p a i n w a l k i n g w i t h my eyes closed . . . . I am b e i n g a p o c a l y p t i c , or j u s t p l a i n r o m a n t i c , he s a i d . . . but h i s mind was w i t h o u t qualm, r e s t e d on a c e r t a i n t y , (pp. 165-166)  22 T h i s passage c o n t a i n s important have o c c a s i o n t o r e f e r t o i t a g a i n .  i d e a s and we s h a l l But c o n s i d e r i n g t h e  a t t i t u d e which O l i v e r adopts towards t h e i d e a s , as i n d i c a ted i n t h e f i r s t after a l l ,  sentence, i t i s s e n t i m e n t a l  slush.  Oliver,  i s a t h i r t y - f o u r year o l d d o c t o r who, f o r t y  pages p r e v i o u s l y , was shown c o m f o r t i n g  one o f t h e p e o p l e  w i t h "upturned f a c e s " by e x p l a i n i n g t h e e s s e n t i a l c l e a v a g e of l i f e i n t o t h e r e a l i t y o f l o n e l i n e s s and t h e d e c e p t i v e appearance o f communication and s h a r i n g o f t h e human experience.  I f he r e a l l y b e l i e v e d t h a t he c o u l d escape  the c l e a v a g e and p a i n by n o t r e t u r n i n g t o t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of a husband and f a t h e r , he would n o t r e t u r n ; o r a t l e a s t , n o t so r e a d i l y . although  But White i s n o t Lawrence, and  he has been u n a b l e t o r e s i s t l e t t i n g O l i v e r l o o k  i n t o t h e avenue i n A l y s ' f a c e , he f i n a l l y wrenches h i m s e l f back t o h i s p r o p e r c o u r s e . i n O l i v e r ' s mind.  A l y s i s reduced t o a s a f e memory  White's h a n d l i n g of t h e L a w r e n t i a n method  of d e s c r i b i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p s has l e d him i n t o an i n v o l u n t a r y assent The  t o Lawrence's s c a l e o f v a l u e s , but he f i n a l l y reneges.  book, however, s u f f e r s d i s u n i t y , e s p e c i a l l y as t h e  L a w r e n t i a n p r e s e n t a t i o n has o f t e n been c o n v i n c i n g . These two k i n d s o f t e c h n i c a l d e f e c t , which we have examined, form an important  contrast to the successful i n t e -  g r a t i o n of t e c h n i c a l and thematic  elements which i s more  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of White's work than t h e d e f e c t s , even i n these e a r l y novels.  (By t h e t h i r d n o v e l , h i s m a t u r i t y i s  such t h a t d e f e c t s a r e hard t o f i n d . ) important  The r e a s o n why i t i s  t o make t h i s c o n t r a s t i s t h a t White has been so  s e v e r e l y c r i t i c i s e d on t e c h n i c a l m a t t e r s t h a t t h e r e a d e r  23 may be f o r g i v e n f o r b e i n g c o n f u s e d by t h e c r i t i c s a s where r e a l v a l u e s failed,  lie.  If  we see c l e a r l y w h e r e W h i t e  we a r e b e t t e r a b l e t o s e e w h e r e he has  w h i c h a p p e a r f i r s t i n t h i s n o v e l , and a r e  in later  has  succeeded.  We c a n now t u r n t o n o t e some o f t h e more s u c c e s s f u l niques,  to  tech-  developed  works.  Two r e c e n t c r i t i c a l enormously  a r t i c l e s have commenced  the  i m p o r t a n t t a s k o f u n r a v e l l i n g some o f  the  strands  o f r e c u r r e n t s y m b o l i s m and m e a n i n g f u l a s s o c i a t i o n w h i c h go t o make up r h y t h m i c p a t t e r n s i n t h e i n d i v i d u a l n o v e l s  and  the canon as a w h o l e — f o r the s i g n i f i c a n c e a t t a c h e d to symbols  and m o t i f s i s g e n e r a l l y c o n s i s t e n t  the novels.  throughout  Happy V a l l e y assumes a c e r t a i n i m p o r t a n c e  t h e n o v e l i n w h i c h many o f t h e s e f i r s t a p p e a r . there w i l l  be r e a d e r s and c r i t i c s who w i l l  each of these works expect us  all  stands  Undoubtedly  insist  a l o n e and t h a t W h i t e  t o r e a d one n o v e l a s a complement o f  T h e y do s t a n d a l o n e , b u t t h e f a c t r e m a i n s does a l s o i l l u m i n a t e the o t h e r s . t h e s i g n i f i c a n c e of T h e o d o r a ' s  Consider  that  cannot others.  t h a t each work for instance  hawk i n The A u n t s 1  Story  r e - i n f o r c e d f o r t h e r e a d e r f r o m t h e memory o f t h e hawk Happy V a l l e y . H e r e i s T h e o d o r a ' s  as  how is in  hawk:  The l i t t l e hawk t o r e and p a u s e d , t o r e and p a u s e d . Soon he w o u l d t e a r t h r o u g h t h e w o o l and t h e m a g g o t s and r e a c h t h e o f f a l i n t h e b e l l y o f t h e s h e e p . T h e o d o r a l o o k e d a t t h e hawk. She c o u l d n o t j u d g e h i s a c t , b e c a u s e h e r e y e had c o n t r a c t e d , i t was r e d d i s h g o l d , and h e r c u r v e d f a c e c u t t h e w i n d . Death, said F a t h e r , l a s t s f o r a long time. L i k e the bones o f t h e sheep t h a t w o u l d l i e , and d r y , and w h i t e n , and c l a t t e r u n d e r h o r s e s . But t h e a c t o f t h e hawk, w h i c h she w a t c h e d , h a w k - l i k e , was a moment o f s h r i l l b e a u t y t h a t r o s e above t h e e n d l e s s n e s s o f b o n e s .  24  The r e d eye spoke o f w o r l d s t h a t were b r i e f and fierce. (The Aunt's S t o r y p.33) L a t e r she shoots t h e hawk, and White makes i t c l e a r t o us t h a t t h i s i s an a c t of s e l f - a b n e g a t i o n ;  She would d e s t r o y  t h a t p a r t o f h e r which i s l i k e t h e hawk--an i n v o l u n t a r y agent i n t h e phenomenal w o r l d of n a t u r e . She took aim and i t was l i k e aiming a t h e r own r e d eye. She c o u l d f e e l t h e blood-beat t h e o t h e r s i d e o f the membrane. . . . A f t e r t h a t Theodora o f t e n thought of t h e l i t t l e hawk she had so d e l i b e r a t e l y s h o t . I was wrong, she s a i d , but I s h a l l c o n t i n u e t o d e s t r o y m y s e l f , r i g h t down t o t h e l a s t o f my s e v e r a l l i v e s , (pp.  73-74)  W i t h i n t h e one n o v e l , t h e r e c u r r e n c e o f t h i s m o t i f forms a s i n g l e and complete r h y t h m i c  s t r a n d (which d e v e l o p s a  v a r i a t i o n when Theodora shoots t h e c l a y ducks t o d i s s o c i a t e h e r s e l f from t h e n a t u r a l w o r l d (pp. 124-125).  But t h e  rhythm a c q u i r e s a v a l u a b l e e x t e n s i o n from t h e use of t h e hawk, i n Happy V a l l e y , as a symbol o f t h e c r u e l , u n f e e l i n g world of nature.  The main appearance o f t h e symbol i s i n  the c o n t e x t o f a p a i n f u l  still-birth:  A l l i t s l i f e [ t h e hawk] would p r o b a b l y know no p a i n , not l i k e Mrs. C h a l k e r , w r i t h i n g about on t h e bed a t Kambala. The hawk was a b s o l v e d from t h i s , absorbed as an agent i n t o t h e whole o f t h i s f r o z e n l a n d s c a p e , i n t o t h e mountains t h a t emanated i n t h e i r s i l e n c e a d u l l , f r o z e n p a i n w h i l e r e m a i n i n g exempt from i t . (p. 18) The hawk symbol i s o n l y one o f many such c e n t r e s o f expanding a s s o c i a t i o n and s i g n i f i c a n c e which f i r s t i n Happy V a l l e y .  occur  F u t u r e c o m p i l e r s w i l l annotate White's 4 use o f such t h i n g s as c o l o u r s , m u s i c , e s p e c i a l l y organ  25 music  and C h o p i n ' s  particulars  piano music  , and e v e n s u c h m i n u t e  a s a c r u s t o f f l i e s on a n  Characterization, we h a v e r e f e r r e d i s  eyelid.^  i n s p i t e of the d e f e c t s to which  another important aspect of  i n Happy V a l l e y . I n p a r t i c u l a r , t h e r e a r e t h e personae-  of the a r t i s t ' s  various  troubled self, Alys,  Amy Quong, E r n e s t M o r i a r t y and S i d n e y g r e a t e r or l e s s e r degree,  Oliver,  F u r l o w , who, t o a  e x h i b i t a tormented  of the s t a t e of a l i e n a t i o n .  technique  And j u s t a s ,  say,  consciousness Hardy's  H e n c h a r d becomes a more s i g n i f i c a n t f i g u r e when we know J u d e , o r a s one E l G r e c o f a c e i s  emphasised  f o r us  in  c e r t a i n ways when we h a v e s e e n s e v e r a l ,  so A l y s  a dimension to Theodora,  communicative  e f f e c t of W h i t e ' s T r e e o f Man) less  art.  i n c r e a s i n g the  M o r i a r t y and W a l t e r Gage  are d i f f e r e n t impressions  resistant  i l l u m i n a t u s who i s  and A l f Dubbo o f R i d e r s ,  and  satire.  also Clay  point  t o do s o .  others. (not  altogether im-  this  t o get behind t h e f a c e s of  these  he d o e s i n The T r e e o f Man f o r i n s t a n c e ) , good,  these character p r e s e n t a t i o n s .  artificial,  story)  and h a l f w a n t i n g t o c o m m u n i c a t e ,  t h a t t h e s a t i r e , where i t i s in  the  In g e n e r a l , White i s unable at  i n h i s development,  people (as  (of  These are t h e i n a r t i c u l a t e p e o p l e ,  prisoned w i t h i n themselves but unable  (The  of the weaker,  Then t h e r e a r e t h e v i c t i m s o f W h i t e ' s harsh)  Brown a d d s  is  the only r e a l  Often i t  b u t homorousj; and n o t w i t h o u t  is  so value  rather  interest:  Qfr F u r l o w ] l i k e d t o s i t w i t h S i d n e y , s o m e t i m e s a l o n e , t o know t h a t she was t h e r e , p h y s i c a l l y a t l e a s t . They u n d e r s t o o d e a c h o t h e r , he f e l t , n o t t h a t he w o u l d h a v e  26 admitted t h i s to h i s wife, nor that he would have been able to explain the nature of t h i s understanding, or even on what i t was based. Mr Furlow avoided explanation as savouring of i n t e l l e c t u a l enterprise. But i t was there, t h i s understanding, a l l the same. He looked at her over his glasses and said: How about some kidneys pet? It was his contribution to the r e l a t i o n s h i p . (HV p.283) Happy Valley i s then, a rather patchy novel i n which various techniques are unassimilated i n the t o t a l structure. Judged on i t s technical aspects alone, i t i s a f a i l u r e , f o r , as Vincent Buckley says, " i t proves unable to bear the weight g of i t s author's preoccupations."  Yet the fact that those  preoccupations do come through to us, gives the book considerable thematic i n t e r e s t , as we s h a l l see. b. HAPPY VALLEY: THEME In Happy V a l l e y . White presents his v i s i o n of the human condition.  This presentation constitutes the theme of h i s  novel, and i t f a l l s into two parts:  On one hand there i s  the attempt simply to render l i f e , either impersonally as narrator, or through the subjective consciousness of the characters.  This i s the descriptive or mimetic aspect of  the presentation.  On the other hand there i s a certain  element of prescription i n which the a r t i s t asserts his concept of moral values and suggests how these may  be attained.  In the former aspect White i s revealing his own form of realism;  i n the l a t t e r aspect, h i s response to the r e a l i t i e s  which he sees.  We may note from the outset that the thematic  27 development  of White's work r e p r e s e n t s h i s attempt t o f i n d  a s a t i s f a c t o r y response t o the r e a l i t i e s of l i f e as he sees them.  I t i s a p r o g r e s s i v e attempt t o f i n d a means  o f r e s i s t i n g the a n g u i s h which the c o n s c i o u s n e s s of a l i e n a t i o n produces i n honest and s e n s i t i v e  men.  The attempt t o d e s c r i b e the r e a l i t y seen beneath the appearance bitterness.  i n Happy V a l l e y i s c a r r i e d out w i t h a y o u t h f u l The a r t i s t t a k e s on the mask of r e b e l a g a i n s t  s o c i e t y and i n t e n d s t o shock h i s r e a d e r s i n t o s e l f - a w a r e n e s s . Life,  says White, i s not the Happy V a l l e y t h a t i t appears  t o the<-casual o b s e r v e r , who  sees o n l y c h i l d r e n h a p p i l y at  p l a y , and s m i l i n g m a r r i e d c o u p l e s d i s c u s s i n g the weather and the r a c e s , (p.224)  Rather, i t i s a " d u l l frozen pain"  (p.18) emanating from the c r u e l t y of n a t u r e .  U n l i k e the  hawk which appears t o be exempt from p a i n , man must s u f f e r because of h i s human c o n s c i o u s n e s s . The c r e a t o r i s p i c t u r e d as a m a l e v o l e n t "God making a c l o c k w o r k t o y , then s c r a t c h i n g h i s head and s e e i n g t h a t i t might work too w e l l , so he put i n an e x t r a mechanism" ( p . 2 2 ) .  T h i s mechanism  i s man's i n t e l l i g e n c e which e n a b l e s him, t h r o u g h the cons c i o u s n e s s of p o s s i b i l i t i e s and the r e c o g n i t i o n of d e s i r e s , t o know the a g o n i e s of f r u s t r a t i o n and boredom--to r e c o g n i s e t h a t the u n i v e r s e i s a l i e n t o him. as an epitome of man's s t a t e :  Happy V a l l e y i s p r e s e n t e d  It i s  that p e c u l i a r l y t e n a c i o u s scab on the body of the known e a r t h . You w a i t e d f o r i t t o come away l e a v i n g a p a t c h of p i n k n e s s u n d e r n e a t h . You w a i t e d and i t d i d not happen, and because of t h i s you f e l t t h e r e was something i n i t s n a t u r e p e c u l i a r l y p e r v e r s e . What was the purpose of Happy V a l l e y i f , i n s p i t e of i t s l a c k of r e l e v a n c e , i t c l u n g t e n a c i o u s l y t o a f o r e i g n t i s s u e , w a i t i n g and w a i t i n g f o r what? I t seemed t o have no d e s i g n . You c o u l d not f e e l i t . You a n t i c i p a t e d a m o r a l doomsday,  28 but i t d i d not come. So you went about your b u s i n e s s , t r i e d t o f i n d r e a s o n i n t h i s . A f t e r a l l , your e x i s t ence i n Happy V a l l e y must be s u f f i c i e n t i n i t s e l f , (p.115/6) O l i v e r , i n whose c o n s c i o u s n e s s t h i s passage appears, does a t l e a s t have the dubious advantage of knowing he i s aware of h i s s t a t e . R a s s e l a s , who,  that  He i s l i k e Samuel Johnson's  bored by the Happy V a l l e y i n A b y s s i n i a , comes  t o r e a l i s e t h a t "man  has s u r e l y some l a t e n t sense f o r which  t h i s p l a c e a f f o r d s no g r a t i f i c a t i o n , " but who  can a l s o ,  p e r h a p s , " r e c e i v e some s o l a c e from the m i s e r i e s of l i f e , from the c o n s c i o u s n e s s of the d e l i c a c y w i t h which he 9 and the eloquence w i t h which he b e w a i l e d them."  felt  It i s  t h i s " d e l i c a c y " and t h i s "eloquence" which enable O l i v e r t o c r e a t e h i s e x q u i s i t e w o r l d of memory and i m a g i n a t i o n as a r e f u g e from r e a l i t y .  He i s set up as the c h a r a c t e r w i t h  the g r e a t e s t degree of s e l f - a w a r e n e s s i n the n o v e l and he forms a c o n t r a s t t o the human cabbages at the o t h e r end of the s c a l e .  Moreover, O l i v e r ' s response to h i s dream  w o r l d d e v e l o p s as the p l o t unwinds, and t h i s becomes the major t h e m a t i c statement i n the n o v e l . E a r l y on we f i n d O l i v e r r e c a l l i n g h i s e x p e r i e n c e of t r a n s c e n d e n t r a p t u r e as he responded t o the music i n a P a r i s i a n church:  The organ music "came r u s h i n g out of the  l o f t , u n f u r l i n g banners of sound," and making him c r y . You c o u l d f e e l a s t i l l n e s s and a music a l l a t once. You were at once f l o a t i n g and s t a t i o n a r y , i n t i m e , a l l t i m e , and space w i t h o u t b a r r i e r , p a s s i n g w i t h a f r e s h e r knowledge of the t a n g i b l e t o a p o i n t where t h i s d i s s o l v e d , became the s p i r i t u a l , ( p . 2 0 ) ^ T h i s e n t h u s i n g e x p e r i e n c e i s r e p e a t e d more i n t i m a t e l y f o r  29 O l i v e r when A l y s p l a y s the p i a n o i n her home, and he i s l e d to  t h i n k t h a t he can t r i u m p h over h i s confinement  i n the  w o r l d of " c l e a v a g e and p a i n , " by r u n n i n g o f f w i t h A l y s i n t o a p r o j e c t e d f a i r y - l a n d of h i s hopes. e l u d e s him, as we  This apotheosis  s h a l l see, and he i s l e f t f i n a l l y i n an  a t t i t u d e of s t o i c acceptance o f h i s c o n s c i o u s a n g u i s h . At the o t h e r end of the s c a l e o f s e l f - a w a r e n e s s are the F u r l o w s and the B e l p e r s .  These p e o p l e s h u f f l e onwards  towards d e a t h , f i l l e d w i t h boredom and emptiness.  They are  d i m l y aware o f t h e i r p l i g h t as human b e i n g s , but t h e y a r e unable t o see the i s s u e s c l e a r l y or t o c o n s i d e r ways and means of w i n n i n g through t o f u l f i l m e n t . paused t o ask h i m s e l f i f h i s l i f e was at  a l l " (p.83).  Mr F u r l o w  "never  based on a n y t h i n g  "He hadn't a mind, o n l y a mutual  between a number of almost dormant i n s t i n c t s "  understanding  (p.83-4).  He found f a t s t o c k p r i c e s " i n e x h a u s t i b l e " even a f t e r readings (p.82).  several  And as f o r t h i n k i n g , "Mr F u r l o w never  thought, he r e l i e d on a p r o c e s s of slow f i l t r a t i o n  and  t r u s t e d t o p r o v i d e n c e t o g i v e the mechanism a j o g " ( p . 8 7 ) . His  w i f e would o f t e n respond t o the c h a l l e n g e of each  new  day by w r i t i n g , "not t h a t she had a n y t h i n g t o w r i t e , but i t was  s o o t h i n g t o cover a c l e a n sheet of paper w i t h words"  (p.82).  And her o t h e r c h i e f method f o r r e s i s t i n g  p h y s i c a l s t a s i s i s the p l a y i n g out of her r o l e of  sheer social  p r e t e n t i o u s n e s s , f o r " m e n t a l l y , Mrs F u r l o w always wore a t i a r a " (p.81). The  B e l p e r s r e s i s t the a n g u i s h of c o n s c i o u s n e s s by  s e a l i n g up every i d e a o r e x p e r i e n c e t h a t comes t h e i r  way,  30 in a platitude.  In fact Mr Belper i s "a kind of Captain  Cook of platitude" (p.105).  He sticks to generalities l i k e  "the future of the country," "the national physique," and "the canalization of surplus energy" (p.107).  This  anaesthetic mode of speech i s p a r t i c u l a r l y e f f e c t i v e i n disguising for the Belpers, the moral issues involved i n their f i n a n c i a l problems.  When Mr Belper has to explain  to Alys h i s f a i l u r e to invest her money wisely, he rests in the balm of an empty phrase: It's  the C r i s i s , her husband s a i d . Because often i n the past platitude had helped him out of a conversational hole, was something to c l i n g onto at home or at the club, where the C r i s i s was answerable for much, i t gave you a f e e l i n g of being not altogether to blame, (p.315) And when he suffers from the memory of the f o o l i s h handling of  his own money, his wife helps him out i n the Belper manner: That was only a f l u t t e r I expect. Yes, agreed Mr Belper, grasping at the opportunity and closing his mind to the r e s t . (p. 317) Near the end of the book, White draws a contrast between  the conscious and the unconscious of Alys and Mrs Belper.  i n d i v i d u a l , i n the persons  The l a t t e r i s said to have made  her l i f e "an endless stream of narrative," and Alys r e a l i s e s that she has done so i n order to blur the v i s i o n of r e a l i t y of which she has a sort of subconscious  fear.  But to furnish your l i f e with incident was no ultimate escape, except for a Mrs Belper perhaps. She had never moved i n the current of Mrs Belper's stream, a pool rather, and you looked down, aware of the r e f l e c t e d images, frightening sometimes, but never distorted by the s l u r r i n g of a stream. It was better  31 l i k e t h i s , the t r u t h of the u n d i s t o r t e d images. T h e r e i s n o t h i n g t o f e a r , she s a i d , e v e n i n c o n t e m p l a t i o n of the d e p t h s , (p.321) In  this  last  thought,  Alys  theme o f t h e l a t e r n o v e l s , She p r e f i g u r e s  Theodora  gives expression  e s p e c i a l l y The A u n t ' s  o f h e r own c l e a r v i s i o n  and p r e f e r r i n g t h e  to the haste,  deception which the world c a l l s as A l y s  without fear,  Story.  l i v i n g i n "the s o l i t a r y land  the i n d i v i d u a l e x p e r i e n c e , "  Just  to a major  holds  confusion  of  integrity and  self-  sanity.  onto her c l e a r v i s i o n of  so a l l t h e c h a r a c t e r s  truth,  i n Happy V a l l e y  seek  t o a t t a i n o r t o g r a s p some k i n d o f p e a c e .  The p a r t i c u l a r  form of  " p e a c e " which each w i l l  d e p e n d on t h e  degrees  o f m o r a l i n t e g r i t y and s e l f  dividual personality. instance, will  their for  lives  and t h e y a r e d r a w n t o g e t h e r  e x c i t e m e n t i n t h e n o v e l t y of  V i c , and t h i s  affair  going  Although  of conscious  t h e n becomes  the  integrated  by a common  a l u s t f u l adultery. a hypnotic  game o f  aware o f  t h e m o r a l i n j u r y she  The chance  social  her.  is  inflicting oppressed  rejection--she  n o t assume h e r r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s a g a i n s t and E r n e s t ' s  the  to  a t a t i m e when he i s  by p h y s i c a l w e a k n e s s and a s e n s e o f  of  hope  i s p a r t o f t h e r e a s o n why she k e e p s  on h e r h u s b a n d - - e s p e c i a l l y  simply w i l l  for  self-deception—  a f t e r Hagan has become r e p u l s i v e  she i s  in-  They a r e b o t h w e a r y f r o m t h e boredom  d e c e p t i o n of Ernest for  i n each  but they l a c k  i n s t e a d of m o r a l l y  pathetic figures  particularly Vic.  awareness  self-knowledge,  i t and become,  personalities,  will  C l e m Hagen and V i c M o r i a r t y ,  have a l i t t l e  to use  seek,  of p r o m i s c u i t y .  Her m u r d e r ,  death are t r a g i c  i n the s t r i c t e s t c l a s s i c a l  the  quasi-suicidal sense.  She  lure  32 knew what  she was d o i n g and g u e s s e d what m i g h t come o f  and t h i s d e g r e e o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s heroic  saviour  of her  made h e r a p o t e n t i a l l y .  s e n s i t i v e husband;  b u t t h e g o d s had  simply not equipped her w i t h the moral courage and f a c e t h e c h a l l e n g e o f r e a l i t y . Vic  is  always  future,  L i k e Mrs  t h i n k i n g how t h i n g s w i l l  to  turn  Halliday,  be b e t t e r i n  "when we go t o t h e N o r t h S h o r e , "  the  thus avoiding  n e e d t o come t o g r i p s w i t h t h e h o l l o w t e r r o r o f l i f e the present.  Oliver  sums up t h e s i t u a t i o n . - when he  c r i b e s t h e M o r i a r t y h o u s e as a h o u s e f i l l e d w i t h futility  and p a i n o f w i l f u l  it,  her  in des-  "the  d e s t r u c t i o n , " ( p . 2 9 4 ) and  "two  people t r y i n g to escape from the i n e v i t a b l e . " By c o n t r a s t , O l i v e r r e a l i s e s The r e a l i t i e s o f  life  t h a t t h e r e i s no  i n c l u d e p a i n and e n d l e s s  as w e l l  as a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r o t h e r s .  running  away w i l l  suffering  No amount  of  exempt man f r o m t h e s e c h a n g e l e s s  a s O l i v e r r e a l i s e s when, by E r n e s t M o r i a r t y * s to present,  escape.  setting off with Alys,  body i n t h e r o a d .  conditions,  he i s  halted  And W h i t e g o e s on  i n O l i v e r , h i s p o s i t i v e a n s w e r o f 1939, t o  the problem of l i v i n g .  By t h e end o f  t h e book,  Oliver  has  developed three p h i l o s o p h i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . First  o f a l l , he i s u t t e r l y a r e a l i s t i n t e r m s  rational  and c o u r a g e o u s  there i s  o n l y one way i n w h i c h man c a n a l t e r t h e  of h i s  existence:  must e i t h e r k i l l directly,  agnosticism.  by d y i n g . himself,  The c o n s c i o u s  of  o r e l s e he must t a k e a p e r s o n a l  self-content.)  that conditions  individual  a s E r n e s t M o r i a r t y has done  k i n d i n o r d e r t o endure w i t h d i g n i t y measure  He r e a l i s e s  of  stand of  in-  some  (or at l e a s t w i t h a  33 [The M o r i a r t y s ] have t r i e d t o cut o f f the i n s u p e r a b l e . They have broken t h e m s e l v e s , he f e l t , and A l y s and I s l i p p i n g down the r o a d , headed f o r what vague dream, are j u s t as i r r a t i o n a l perhaps, (p.278) Because you cannot c a s t o f f the ways and customs, except i n d e a t h , as M o r i a r t y has. You s u b s t i t u t e f o r t i t u d e . . . and c a l l i t a moral v i c t o r y , (p.278) The way  i n which t h i s " f o r t i t u d e " i s to o p e r a t e comes home  to him a t the end, the p a r t of man,  i n a passage a l r e a d y quoted:  "This i s  t o w i t h s t a n d through h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p s .  . . f o r through H i l d a and A l y s he can w i t h s t a n d . "  (p.327  see p. 17 above.) The the end,  second c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of O l i v e r ' s p o s i t i o n by i s h i s acceptance of p e r s o n a l , m o r a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ,  i s s u i n g from the f a c t of human interdependence.  H i s sense  of d u t y t o h i s w i f e and c h i l d r e n has never d e s e r t e d  him,  even i n the deepest p o i n t of h i s involvement w i t h A l y s . We have a l r e a d y seen how, whole l o t o v e r b o a r d ,  e a r l i e r on, he "wanted t o t i p the  o n l y t h a t was  i m p o s s i b l e , because  H i l d a and Rodney and George c l u n g to the f r a g m e n t s , were founded on something t h a t you thought had e x i s t e d b e f o r e " (p.74).  And  l y i n g i n bed w i t h A l y s , i n the temporary peace  of s e x u a l f u l f i l m e n t , he r e t a i n s a l u c i d c o n s c i e n c e ,  to-  gether w i t h a sense of o v e r a l l f r u s t r a t i o n i n h i s l i f e : I ought t o f e e l s o r r y , but t h e r e i s no r e g r e t , which i s perhaps a p e r v e r s i o n of the m o r a l sense, i f f i n d i n g y o u r s e l f i s a p e r v e r s i o n , because t h i s i s what I have done . . . , but the w o r l d makes i t s demand, I s h a l l run away from m y s e l f because of H i l d a , I s h a l l c l o s e my eyes. T h i s i s the w o r l d . T h i s i s Happy V a l l e y . T h i s i s a l s o not the w o r l d , (p. 165)  34  L a t e r O l i v e r debates w i t h i n h i m s e l f the whole problem of what he c a l l s " c l e a v a g e "  i n which the t e n s i o n  a r i s i n g between the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of the i n d i v i d u a l t o h i m s e l f and t o s o c i e t y t h r e a t e n t o d r i v e him t o d e s p a i r . H i s answer i s a compromise r e v e a l e d i n h i s a c t of l e a v i n g the V a l l e y and A l y s f o r the sake of h i s f a m i l y r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , w h i l e r e t a i n i n g the memory of h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h A l y s as an a c t i v e m o r a l s t i m u l u s i n h i s l i f e . T h i s l a s t statement b r i n g s us t o the t h i r d i s t i c of O l i v e r ' s p o s i t i o n :  character-  h i s b e l i e f i n the j o y and  the  power t o s u r v i v e which the i n d i v i d u a l can d e r i v e from m e a n i n g f u l p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . He a r t i c u l a t e s  this  b e l i e f i n the passage at the end o f the book which we noted twice already.  But  he  a c t on t h i s b e l i e f , e a r l i e r .  have  has a l r e a d y a c t e d or t r i e d On page 127,  to  for instance,  he f e e l s i m p e l l e d t o do f o r M o r i a r t y what A l y s has done f o r him:  t o break through b a r r i e r s i n t o the i s o l a t e d  conscious-  n e s s of another p e r s o n by some v i t a l act of communication. He must send m e d i c i n e t o M o r i a r t y , though more, he wanted t o g i v e him more, he wanted t o g i v e so many p e o p l e the i m p o s s i b l e through the e x i s t i n g w a l l t h a t somehow the human p e r s o n a l i t y seems to e r e c t . Only she p l a y e d Chopin and i t crumbled t o n o n - e x i s t e n t b r i c k and they l o o k e d at each o t h e r , each time f o r the f i r s t , (p. 127) 12 The paradox i n which t h i s theme i s here s t a t e d - - t h e  value  and a t the same time the v i r t u a l i m p o s s i b i l i t y of a c h i e v i n g human r e l a t i o n s h i p s - - i s a c e n t r a l and p e r s i s t e n t aspect of White's v i s i o n .  I t may  be c o n s i d e r e d more f u l l y i n  r e l a t i o n t o the l a t e r works. The  thematic  content  of Happy V a l l e y i s v a l u a b l e i n  35 i t s e l f , as w e l l as forming a u s e f u l s t a r t i n g p o i n t f o r an u n d e r s t a n d i n g  o f t h e l a t e r , more s i g n i f i c a n t developments.  I t i s r e v e a l i n g t o n o t i c e , however, a t l e a s t one p a r t i c u l a r i n w h i c h t h i s n o v e l a l r e a d y marks an advance on some work which was p u b l i s h e d e a r l i e r .  I r e f e r t o t h e poem "When  Thoughts A r e S t i l l and F o r m l e s s , "  f i r s t published i n a  l i m i t e d e d i t i o n i n 1935, and a n t h o l o g i s e d i n 1946, and t o the s t o r y "The T w i t c h i n g C o l o n e l , " which appeared i n t h e 13 London Mercury i n 1937.  From a comparison o f these works,  we can see how O l i v e r H a l l i d a y ' s s e a r c h f o r i n t e g r i t y o f being and t h e p a r t i a l l y s a t i s f y i n g r e s o l u t i o n o f h i s problem s p r i n g from a d e v e l o p i n g a r t i s t i c  vision.  The poem shows us t h e a r t i s t r e g i s t e r i n g a c o n s c i o u s i m p r e s s i o n of t h e d u a l i t y i n t h e human c o n d i t i o n - s u b j e c t i v e and o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y , t h e a c t u a l l i m i t a t i o n s o f e x i s t e n c e and t h e imagined p o s s i b i l i t i e s , " t h e w o r l d , " and "the n o t w o r l d , " o f O l i v e r ' s " c l e a v a g e . "  White begins h i s  poem w i t h a s t r a n g e and e l u s i v e comparison: There a r e days when thoughts a r e s t i l l and f o r m l e s s as t h e o l d p e o p l e s i t t i n g on benches i n p a r k s : I t i s t h e d e s c r i p t i o n o f these p e o p l e t h a t i n t e r e s t s us here: Stoop-backed, w h i s k e r e d , c h i n on hand; And p a l e window-thoughts b l i n k i n g a t t h e g l a r e . In  t h e next l i n e s he g i v e s a judgement on t h e e x t e r n a l  appearance o f t h e i r l i v e s , from t h e p o i n t o f v i e w o f an objective observer: There i s no r e a s o n f o r t h e i r  being,  For t h e i r heaped up e x i s t e n c e on benches i n p a r k s ; But i m m e d i a t e l y  he d e t e c t s evidence o f another aspect o f  t h e i r l i v e s , beneath t h e u n a t t r a c t i v e e x t e r i o r ;  he  recognises the i n d i v i d u a l , s u b j e c t i v e consciousness,  36  i n c o r p o r a t i n g perhaps dreams, hopes, memories, d e s i r e s : Yet sometimes between the s l i t s of t h e i r eyes, Out of a m o t h - b a l l s t u p o r , of j e t bonnets and m u s t i n e s s , F l i c k e r s the glimpse of a n o t h e r w o r l d s : The smooth d r i f t of s u n l i g h t through the t r u n k s of t r e e s , And c o w s l i p s s t a r r e d w i t h t e a r s . The  absurd d u a l i t y of man--his p h y s i c a l l i m i t a t i o n  the e x p a n s i v e n e s s and freedom of h i s i m a g i n a t i o n , moth-ball  s t u p o r , of j e t bonnets and m u s t i n e s s , "  versus "the  versus  "the smooth d r i f t of s u n l i g h t through the t r u n k s of t r e e s " - i s one main f e a t u r e of White's p e r s i s t e n t v i s i o n . t h i s poem the v i s i o n i s expressed  w i t h i n the  of pure statement and an i m a g i s t  technique.  I n "The consciousness  In  limitations  T w i t c h i n g C o l o n e l " we p a s s d i r e c t l y i n t o of one of the o l d men  s i t t i n g t h e r e i n the p a r k .  who  the  might have been  The C o l o n e l ' s e x t e r n a l appearance  w i l l be r e v e a l e d as t h a t of a d e t e r i o r a t i n g r e l i c .  ("Colonel  T r e v e l l i c k i s b r e a k i n g up,  face  see how  he s i t s , how  t w i t c h e s , the r e d and the b l u e , as he s i t s .  the  . .  .")  C h i l d r e n f o l l o w him w i t h g h o u l i s h f a s c i n a t i o n , w a i t i n g f o r the t w i t c h . i n pubs.  His landlady gently dissuades  him from l o i t e r i n g  ("With a l l those medals i t ' s a shame, and you  c o l o n e l and a gentleman.") an a u t o m a t i c ,  a  H i s d a i l y r o u t i n e has become  h a b i t u a l monotony.  But e n d l e s s  reminiscence  of h i s l i f e i n I n d i a , p a r t s of w h i c h , even Mrs Whale f i n d s worth the  hearing:  T e l l me about the t r i c k , a s k s Mrs Whale, and i t i s Saturday n i g h t and P i m l i c o , the pungent v o i c e of Mrs Whale, of geraniums i n p o t s . T e l l me about t h a t t r i c k , the one w i t h the rope, and what they do w i t h those snakes, you t e l l i t so w e l l . (p.606) And  by now  the C o l o n e l i s dependent on h i s memories to  shut  37 out t h e s o r d i d r e a l i t i e s o f b o d i l y decay, and t h e g i g g l i n g c h i l d r e n , and t h e v o i c e s t h a t "murmur w i t h a l a c k o f consequence o r a c t u a l meaning, t h e p a r r o t v o i c e s . . . t h e u n i n t e l l i g i b l e b l u r o f sound, o f s y l l a b l e s confused and c l i n g i n g beyond t h e envelope o f m i s t " (p.605).  Like  Mrs Moore i n F o r s t e r ' s Passage t o I n d i a , he has been s e n s i t i v e to the s p i r i t u a l mysteries of I n d i a .  Unlike the other  o f f i c i a l s who e x h i b i t "a r e c o i l i n g from t h a t which i s feared or h a l f understood w h i l e not w i l l i n g to understand but watch a t a d i s t a n c e i n mocking s a f e t y , " (p.606) and u n l i k e Maud " t h r o w i n g  a hawser round e m p i r i c a l r e a l i t y and  headaches and cups o f t e a so t h a t she i s a t t a c h e d t o h e r s e l f beyond e s c a p i n g , "  (p.607) C o l o n e l T r e v e l l i c k i s ready  14 t o g i v e up t h e " c e r t a i n c e r t a i n t i e s "  of h i s m i l i e u , i n  o r d e r t o seek some k i n d o f a p o t h e o s i s  i n h i s e x p e r i e n c e of  the O r i e n t .  I n t h e dance o f t h e rope and t h e snake he has  known t h e " a c t i v i t y t h a t d i s c a r d s hands, s h a k i n g o f f t h e surcharge  o f f l e s h , " and, i n c o n t r a s t t o t h e E n g l i s h "ex-  t e n s i o n o f a l i e t h a t i s e a t i n g and d r i n k i n g , " (p.605) and Maud's "hawser" he has seen t h e O r i e n t a l m y s t e r y , "the rope ascending  i n t o space," (p.605) and heard " t h e c r y o f  release achieving transformation"  (p.605).  At f i r s t , h i s memory o f these t h i n g s i s s u f f i c i e n t sustenance f o r t h e C o l o n e l .  B u t , i n due c o u r s e , he needs  something more t a n g i b l e than a v i c a r i o u s memory: I s h a l l s t r i p myself, the o n i o n - f o l d s of p r e j u d i c e , t i l l s t a n d i n g though c o n s c i o u s I see m y s e l f complete or e l s e consumed l i k e t h e Hindu c o n j u r e r who i s t r a n s l a t e d i n t o space, (p.606)  38  So, f i n a l l y , he c r e a t e s h i s own  magical  transformation,  by s e t t i n g f i r e t o the l o d g i n g house and dancing on r o o f u n t i l he ascends i n the " t e n d r i l , p r e s s i n g the  the  against  sky." By t h i s r e s o l u t i o n of h i s s t o r y i n s u i c i d e , White  r e v e a l s a l a c k of m a t u r i t y which we s t o r y of O l i v e r H a l l i d a y . problem, the C o l o n e l ' s sentimental.  see c o r r e c t e d i n the  As a s e r i o u s answer t o  the  s u i c i d e appears r a t h e r n e g a t i v e l y  I t i s too much of a d r a m a t i c  contrivance  and  i t must be seen c h i e f l y as a rebuke t o a s o c i e t y w h i c h d r i v e s i t s s e n s i t i v e members to d e s p a i r .  I n Happy V a l l e y  O l i v e r r e a l i s e s t h a t death i s a r e t r e a t from the problem, and the p o i n t i s d r i v e n home i n the s h o c k i n g l y deaths of the M o r i a r t y s . of t r a n s c e n d e n c e - - i n  O l i v e r too had had  t h i s case through music.  unsentimental experiences He  too  thought t o r e a l i s e h i s d r e a m — b y r u n n i n g o f f w i t h A l y s . But by t h i s t i m e , White's r e a l i s m o v e r - r o d e h i s s e n t i m e n t a l i t y , and  so O l i v e r t u r n s around and comes back home.  i s i n t e r e s t i n g t h a t White a c t u a l l y suggests t h i s r e a l i s m i n "The  Twitching  Colonel":  later  We n o t i c e t h a t  i n c o n g r u o u s f u n e r a l p y r e becomes a source of  It  the  "musical"  r a p t u r e f o r the w a t c h e r s : The p i z z i c a t o c r a c k l e of g l a s s , the trombone undertone of wood t h a t groans and p e r c u s s i o n of a f a l l i n g beam, so the senses sway, so the bodies sway i n t i m e , the faces held to r e c e i v e a golden r a i n with a s i g h i n g r e l i e f , (p. 608) But t h i s d r e a m - l i k e  t r a n c e i s soon broken, and what the  a c t u a l l y r e c e i v e i s the s i g h t of t h e i r neighbour  faces  "dancing"  39 on t h e b l a z i n g r o o f .  The s t o r y  e n d s w i t h sombre  realism:  We go i n t o o u r h o u s e s . We c l o s e o u r d o o r s . The f i r e i s exhausted. We c r e e p away. I t i s s o m e t h i n g we do not understand. We a r e a f r a i d . The t h e m a t i c e v o l u t i o n f r o m "When T h o u g h t s A r e and F o r m l e s s " learns  t o Happy V a l l e y t h e n , i s  how t o c o m m u n i c a t e h i s v i s i o n  the v i s i o n  give his  the i d e a of l i f e  statement  life  and i m a g e .  his  In  as a p a i n f u l the s t o r y ,  t o t h e i d e a and t h e i m a g e - - t o  satiric intention is  which consequently artistic  through  White  art,  i t s e l f becomes more r e a l t o t h e a r t i s t .  poem he p r e s e n t s through  one i n w h i c h  Still  In  some o f  he b e g i n s  still  m a i n l y a set of  but art  convey  vision.  The v i s i o n concepts.  is  by c o n t r a s t  philosophical  Only w i t h the c r e a t i o n of O l i v e r  developed w i t h consistent  Halliday,  r e a l i s m and g i v e n added  and s i m i l a r i t y w i t h o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s  n o v e l , does White b r i n g h i s v i s i o n expression.  So,  to powerful  dimension in  the  artistic  f o r a l l i t s f a u l t s , Happy V a l l e y  remains  a n o v e l worthy of a t t e n t i o n , even a p a r t from W h i t e ' s work,  because  imagination Oliver.  to  embody t h e m ;  i t s power t o  the  duality,  t o o c r u d e l y t h r u s t upon t h e  loses  as  of  other  i t s c a p a c i t y to e x e r c i s e the moral  of the r e a d e r ,  through  the consciousness  of  40 PART 2.  THE LIVING AND TFE DEAD  It i s hardly possible to get through a f i r s t reading of The Living and the Dead without feeling to some extent disgruntled and weary.  Almost a l l the reviewers i n 1941  had such reactions: " E g o t i s t i c a l l y mannered," "boring," "too much thoughtfulness, not enough l i f e , " realism," and so on.  "ultra-  One reviewer started to psycho-  analyse White ("the book i s a c h i l d i s h attack on mother,") and another was reduced to smearing: "Sex for Three." Since that time, no c r i t i c seems to have got to the heart of the novel.  Most appear to have been deflected by the  cover blurb into misinterpretations.  They have looked for  a thesis or at least a clear pattern i n which X i s an epitome of the l i v i n g and Y of the dead.  Thus:  Cover blurb: The chief characters are brother and s i s t e r , Elyot and Eden Standish. It i s Eden who represents the l i v i n g . . . . Her brother . . . never r e a l l y touches the world. Buckley: Its theme (for i t i s , i n a wavering way, a roman ^ thlse) i s the way i n which emotional death i s communicated from one generation to another. The dead, represented c h i e f l y by Catherine Standish and her son E l y o t , possess the earth and reduce i t ; yet the l i v i n g , represented c h i e f l y by Elyot's s i s t e r Eden, may inherit (and renew?) i t . * Brissenden: . . . ultimately there seems to be no s t r i k i n g difference between the l i v i n g who know themselves and have learned to l i v e with the knowledge, and the dead who know nothing.^ Buckley.(substantiating an e a r l i e r version of Brissenden's above statement): The reason i s c l e a r ;  41 t h e p r o s e , so r e m o r s e l e s s l y and g l i t t e r i n g l y i n t e n t on d i a g n o s i s , f a i l s i n f a c t t o c r e a t e t h e d i s c r i m i n a t i o n i n s i s t e d on.3 T h u s we have a n o v e l w h i c h i s n o t o n l y b o r i n g instance,  but i s  also--according  i n the  first  to the c r i t i c s — t h e m a t i c a l l y  unsuccessful. I  s h a l l t r y t o show t h a t The L i v i n g and t h e Dead  is  i  a well  i n t e g r a t e d w o r k o f a r t , and t h a t i t has  considerable  v a l u e f o r t h e r e a d e r who i s w i l l i n g t o a p p r o a c h i t  unhurriedly,  and w i t h o u t p r e c o n c e p t i o n s as t o t h e n a t u r e o f  theme.  It  is  its  a book w h i c h r e q u i r e s more t h a n one r e a d i n g f o r a  appreciation, (though  and t h i s  i s undoubtedly  a  disadvantage  i t p l a c e s W h i t e i n some good c o m p a n y - - J a m e s ,  Woolf--).  fair  Joyce,  F u r t h e r m o r e , one o r two f e a t u r e s o f c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n  i n t h i s n o v e l are c e r t a i n l y poor unconvincing  ( e s p e c i a l l y the  attempts to render the m e n t a l i t y of  sometimes Joe,  •4 cabinet-maker). lie  But b e y o n d t h e d i f f i c u l t i e s and d e f e c t s  a r t i s t i c rewards,  readers generally.  both f o r  students  o f W h i t e and  F o r t h e r e a d e r who s e e k s more t h a n  entertainment i n a novel,  I contend t h a t the rewards  t h e d i f f i c u l t i e s and o u t w e i g h t h e d e f e c t s . concern i s  to observe v a l u e s , using  established:  t e c h n i q u e s and  a . THE L I V I N G AND THE DEAD: The o u t s t a n d i n g  handling of  Our  easy  justify  present  the c a t e g o r i e s  already  themes. TECHNIQUE  t e c h n i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f The  and t h e Dead a r e W h i t e ' s and h i s  for  r e n d e r i n g of  stream of  Living  consciousness  s t r u c t u r a l devices which F o r s t e r  and  42  E.K.Brown c a l l pattern and rhythm. Stream of consciousness i s used more extensively and more successfully i n t h i s novel than i n Happy V a l l e y . Throughout the book, the story i s told almost exclusively through the consciousness of characters, usually one of the Standishes. The impersonal narrator intrudes b r i e f l y , from time to time, but never exceeds his function of providing objective, narrative statements, as the following complete paragraphs  illustrate:  His hands shook, (p.14) Later on, i t was the spring, Maynard l e f t for the United States. A job with commercial a r t i s t s that took him to New York. (p. 151) Elyot spoke of s e l l i n g the house, (p. 329) White's f a i l u r e s to separate and to develop progressiv the consciousnesses of his characters, which we noted i n Happy Valley are overcome i n The Living and the Dead.  Each  personality i s c a r e f u l l y and consistently i n d i v i d u a l i s e d . Eden's f i r s t appearance  (apart from the i n i t i a l scene) on  p.63 where we are introduced from the beginning both to her emotional nature and to comparisons and contrasts between her and her mother and brother (the consciousness here i s Mrs Standish's): She was darker, smaller than the boy. Her small, intense face wrinkled often i n emotional storms. You were conscious early of her watching eyes. In a moment of romantic s t r e s s , her mother decided on the name of Eden. There was no p a r t i c u l a r reason for t h i s . . . . Mrs Standish decided on the name. Behind i t perhaps a sense of her own f r u s t r a t i o n . But she never pinned this down. At three the l i t t l e boy was a solemn, sturdy c h i l d , (p.63)  43 Every o t h e r i n d i c a t i o n of the c h i l d r e n ' s c h a r a c t e r s g i v e n i n the n o v e l i s an e x t e n s i o n and development of f a i n t renderings.  There are no i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s . E l y o t  remains "solemn" as he was pages p r e v i o u s l y ("And sometimes too solemnly, an " e m o t i o n a l  these  storm".  on h i s f i r s t appearance f i v e  the baby l o o k e d at her she thought" p.58).  solemnly, He never  Indeed, even as he w i t n e s s e s  r u n n i n g down of the drunk, he remains m o r b i d l y  has  the  static,  i n v o l v e d m e n t a l l y but not e m o t i o n a l l y : I must do t h i s , h i s mind shouted, t o s s e d out i n t o the screaming of the bus. The l i g h t s spun. The whole neighbourhood moved, except h i s f e e t . He was anchored where he stood. He was the audience t o a d i s t a n t pantomime, (p.14) On the o t h e r hand, the promise of v i o l e n t e m o t i o n a l i s m the "storms"  in  of the i n f a n t Eden* s f a c e i s i n c r e a s i n g l y  r e a l i s e d as she d e v e l o p s .  At the f i r s t a b o r t i o n i s t ' s she  s u f f e r s " a wave of nausea" from w h i c h , by c o n t r a s t w i t h E l y o t ' s e x p e r i e n c e j u s t noted, her mind i s l e f t  static  w h i l e her body surges i n t o a c t i o n i n v o l u n t a r i l y : Now, he s a i d , advancing. Let me see. Now, she s a i d , the f a c e , t h i s f a c e , f l o a t e d on a wave o f nausea, j e r k e d forward on the l e a p i n g n e r v e . . . No, she s a i d . She heard her h e e l s s t a r t l i n g the c h a i r . Not--not now, she s a i d . I d i d n ' t e x a c t l y r e a l i s e . I d i d n ' t know. Perhaps a l i t t l e l o n g e r , she s a i d . Perhaps. Perhaps. Her own f e e t , they went p l a p , p l a p , she heard them p l a p p l a p , a f t e r her i n the passage, moving i n the now s t a t i c dream. She c o u l d f e e l h i s f a c e r o o t e d t h e r e under the e l e c t r i c b u l b . Then her n a i l s were on the shut door. T h i s meticulous c o n s i s t e n c y of c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n i s t y p i c a l  44 of W h i t e ' s work from t h i s n o v e l  onwards.  But b e y o n d mere c o n s i s t e n c y o f r e n d e r i n g , what r e a l v a l u e to W h i t e ' s use of the stream of technique i s  the q u a l i t y of i t s images.  consciousness One m i g h t  t h a t W h i t e has h e l p e d t o b r i n g i n t o t h e modern consciousness  novel, c l a r i t y ,  gives  economy and  say  stream-of-  concreteness,  a s t h e I m a g i s t p o e t s d i d i n t o modern p o e t r y .  And i t  is  i n The L i v i n g and t h e Dead t h a t t h i s f e a t u r e o f W h i t e ' s seen most e x t e n s i v e l y , f o r i t makes t h e l e a s t c o n c e s s i o n s  is  i n t h i s n o v e l t h a t he  to that "primeval c u r i o s i t y "  o f t h e r e a d e r w h i c h demands t h e p e r p e t u a l " a n d t h e n "and t h e n . . . " of a s t o r y . r e f i n e d work,  This novel i s White's  . . . " most  i n t h e s e n s e t h a t he u s e s an i m a g i s t i c  technique to record minute impressions In l a t e r works t h e i m p r e s s i o n s emphatic,  is  on a huge  canvas.  t e n d t o be l a r g e r and more  l o s i n g d e t a i l where t h e y g a i n i n a p p r e c i a b i l i t y .  The c o n c r e t e n e s s o f W h i t e ' s d e t a i l e d i m p r e s s i o n s  in  The L i v i n g and t h e Dead may be i l l u s t r a t e d by c o n t r a s t w i t h t h e more a b s t r a c t r e n d e r i n g w h i c h we f i n d , Virginia  at times,  in  Woolf:  W o o l f (To t h e L i g h t h o u s e ) : She l i k e d C h a r l e s T a n s l e y , she t h o u g h t , s u d d e n l y ; she l i k e d h i s l a u g h . She l i k e d h i m f o r b e i n g so a n g r y w i t h P a u l and M i n t a . She l i k e d h i s awkwardness. T h e r e was a l o t i n t h a t y o u n g man a f t e r a l l . And L i l y , she t h o u g h t , p u t t i n g h e r n a p k i n b e s i d e h e r p l a t e , she a l w a y s h a s some j o k e o f h e r own. One n e e d n e v e r b o t h e r a b o u t L i l y . She waited. She t u c k e d h e r n a p k i n u n d e r t h e edge o f h e r plate. W e l l , w e r e t h e y done now?'' We n o t i c e h e r e t h a t M r s  Ramsay's memories are of q u a l i t i e s  i n people, which are merely named--"his  laugh,"  "Being  so  45  angry," "awkwardness," and so on.  The concrete d e t a i l s  concerning the napkin establish the physical r e a l i t y of her existence, as opposed to non-physical consciousness, ' and her handling of the napkin suggests her impatience underlying her conscious thoughts; selves lack imaginative appeal.  but the thoughts themThey remain abstractions,  whose significance does not expand.  They do not  suggest  anything beyond their generalized conception. Against this we can set almost any passage from the White novel: Oh dear, sighed Eden, or i t curved, broke, became the early morning coughs and c o l d , smooth pennies  the last wave of sleep, as the bus she would soon take, of the business men on buses, i n her hand. (p. 327)  And even Elyot's thoughts about his conception of Connie are given to us i n image impressions: But Connie's face p e r s i s t e d , altered by a sudden storm, and Connie s i t t i n g crumpled by the s k i r t i n g board. Intensity of passion i n Connie Tiarks surprised more than i t r e p e l l e d . There was no end to the unsuspected. Connie was a d i f f e r e n t person. When you had made for yourself the abstract, s e l f l e s s Connie, a l l neatly docketed out of your own i n t e l l e c t u a l conceit. Then the pressure of the eiderdown, (p.322) It i s not that White removes abstraction e n t i r e l y from the stream of consciousness--which would be unreal--but that he constantly focusses the impressions of consciousness i n c l e a r , sensory images. Some of the best images occur when White uses a single impression (often recurrent) to render the essence of a personality:  46 . . .Connie T i a r k s . He remembered her c h i e f l y as a creature of t r a n s i t , an incident on a sofa, another under a mulberry t r e e . Connie Tiarks would always be t h i s . Her hands were always on the verge of reaching for gloves, (p.142) There was no end to the poverty of certainty i n the l i f e of Connie Tiarks, she was inevitably always reaching for her gloves. (p.143) I am an old maid, she s a i d . She f e l l asleep playing bezique with old ladies i n terraces. If only had begun to be written on Connie's lumpy face. (p. 316) Then there i s Wally C o l l i n s , described abstractly as "rootless by achievement", and presented more d i r e c t l y i n images of rootlessness: Wally C o l l i n s was at home i n crowds, the s l i c k and gaudy places where you lived high, round about Leicester Square and P i c c a d i l l y , the Metropole at Brighton, Broadway and 52nd, or A t l a n t i c C i t y . He got around. Because Wally C o l l i n s was a rootless one, an amoeba in the big green pond. His grips were always only half unpacked, the t i e s hanging out . . . . (p.222) The images which White creates with such effect i n t h i s novel are inter-related within the stream of consciousness. Even on a f i r s t reading one i s aware of certain recurrent images and motifs and upon closer scrutiny the reader discovers a most i n t r i c a t e series of patterns. for  We  instance, aspects of Mrs Standish perpetuated  see, separately  in her two c h i l d r e n , and t h i s development of character i s pinned down at various stages by the recurrence of such motifs as solipsism, presented through images of l i v i n g i n a box, or an envelope, or of the p u l l i n g of bedsheets around  47 o n e ' s body.  There i s  uplifted face, all  standing  the other novels  of t h e e m o t i o n a l  79) a s  w h i c h have  end o f  s i d e r minor  Story  the p l o t  As  s u c h an i n s t a n t  of  characters;  brooding,  The e x t e n s i v e  and e n d u r i n g  (pp.21, patterns  aesthetic  and  appeal  and t h e i r manner o f o p e r a t i o n  is  be e x p l i c a t e d e i t h e r q u i c k l y o r w i t h c o m -  coverage.  We c a n make g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s  examples. evident  To do more w o u l d r e q u i r e i n such t h i n g s  a paragraph  i n the l a s t  and  con-  volumes.  as t h e c i r c u l a r i t y  i n The L i v i n g and t h e D e a d .  Esther Waters,  in  indices  off potted plants  ( p . 51).  lonely,  i n w h i c h t h e s e and o t h e r m o t i f s a r e w o v e n ,  Pattern is of  t h e s c a l e we f i n d  women s p o n g i n g d u s t  cannot  prehensive  s e r v e as  and t h e p e r s o n a l i t i e s  when t h e y a r e r e c o g n i s e d grasped,  from the sea of p e o p l e .  responses to music  i n The A u n t ' s  and r h y t h m s  out  states  and a t t h e t r i v i a l house-caged  the c e n t r a l White m o t i f of the  As i n M o o r e ' s chapter i s  a word-  g  f o r - w o r d r e p e t i t i o n o f one i n t h e f i r s t . b u t one o f  the love a f f a i r s  f o l l o w a set p a t t e r n ;  Then t o o ,  i n The L i v i n g  physical  and t h e Dead  a t t r a c t i o n , the growth  a n t i p a t h y , mutual f r u s t r a t i o n i n t e l l e c t u a l l y , then f i n a l l y disgust,  d e c a y and t h e d e a t h o f t h e  l e a v i n g the i n d i v i d u a l s sense of  of  physically;  relationship  i s o l a t e d , w e a r y and w i t h a p a i n f u l  guilt.  As t h e symbols p a t t e r n to another a progressive life  all  and m o t i f s a r e c a r r i e d o v e r so t h e p a t t e r n s  the n o v e l .  become i n t e r - r e l a t e d i n  comparison which acquires  and c r e a t e s what F o r s t e r  i t s own a r t i s t i c  c a l l s a "rhythmic  We c a n see a c l e a r e x a m p l e o f  White uses breasts  as a s y m b o l i c  f r o m one  i n d e x of  this  effect"  in  i n t h e way  the nature  and  48 development of relationships i n two separate love a f f a i r s , that between Elyot and M u r i e l , and that between Catherine and Wally. When Elyot f i r s t sees Muriel we are told that "he found her r e p u l s i v e . Her voice cut.  She was reduced to  v o i c e , and the steely texture of her dress, that moved with her body, metal plated.  He could see the nipples when she  turned to him" (p.199).  After a few drinks, "even the  s t e e l i n e s s , the Muriel Raphael, flowed, the l i t t l e patches of molten steel or quicksilver i n the glass of c l a r e t " (p.200). Now he sees more than the metal-plated nipples:  "The  v o l a t i l e mesh of steel no longer h i d , you knew by heart the contour of a molten breast."  Fourteen pages l a t e r , i n  a second meeting, he i s i n t e l l e c t u a l l y repelled by the talk from her mouth, "the small erection of white lacquer," but the sensual attraction of her breasts p e r s i s t s : A parting of the ways, only just v i s i b l e i n f u r , gave up a scent of v i o l e t s . It was the strange, r i d i c u l o u s convention, Elyot f e l t , that your mind and eyes were able to make obvious comment on the physical f a c t , t h i s was accepted, though under cover of irrelevant words. The breasts of Muriel Raphael were quite irrelevant to words. Her smile, her eyes . . . openly acknowledged t h i s . (p.214-5) Knowing her weapons, Muriel embroiders a scarlet nipple on the dress she wears when Elyot takes her out, thus managing to prolong a relationship which has already degenerated into mutual boredom at the i n t e l l e c t u a l l e v e l ("Food, said E l y o t . . . . The unsurprised waiter was suggesting quail . . . . Quail Muriel? Elyot asked.  Oh yes, she said remotely.  49 Quail" (p.245).  And although Elyot already finds "that  there was no excitement i n the contact of f l e s h , " (p.246) when their hands meet, nevertheless under the drug of music, he allows the scarlet nipple to r e c a l l the o r i g i n a l , sensual a t t r a c t i o n of her breasts: voice of saxophones.  "She had the deep  She had a scarlet n i p p l e .  oh where can my l i t t l e dog be, i t was . . . " (p.247).  And  Oh where,  s t i l l the same party.  so to the taxi where, as the t a l k  d r i f t s on, "there was no v i s i b l e hesitation i n the r i s e and f a l l of the scarlet nipple" (p.252).  F i n a l l y to bed,  where he could possess the whole of Muriel with his hands" (p.252).  However coitus leaves him with "a b i t t e r mouth,"  (p.252) and as he leaves her smoking on the bed, he  observes,  as a sordid f i n a l e to the r e l a t i o n s h i p , that "ash had between her breasts" (p.253). . he was  fallen  "Outside," we are t o l d , " . .  sick of his bones, and the stubble on bones that  he touched, he half suspected two hollows i n his s k u l l " (p.253). Meanwhile the relationship between Catherine and Wally i s already developing.  Mrs Standish i s too old to have  breasts as appealing as Muriel's.  Wally observes however  that despite being "a bit of a back number i n the face, she s t i l l got through nicely on the bust, had a b i t of carriage to her name, you remembered you wasn't exactly addressing the wall" (p.227).  So i n the awkward moments when each of  the strangers i s deciding whether to try and make a relationship out of the chance meeting, Mrs Standish "watched the hand, the l i t t l e black hairs below the cuff" (p.228)  50  (thus extending a rhythmic strand which began with Willy's hands on p.31) and Wally "measured with his eyes the evidence of bust" (p.228).  From here on the progress of  their a f f a i r i s measured, and i t s quality suggested, by White's presentation of the respective consciousness of bust and hands.  Wally's high point a r r i v e s :  "She was  that sincere, moved, the way her bust, that you put out a hand.  Sometimes i t made him sweat, just how i t happened,  and a dame of her class" (p.265).  Then Catherine's: "He  came up and took her from behind, his hands upon her breasts. She closed her eyes.  Her face sagged.  He was leading her,  anywhere, she l e t him, a l l she desired was a complete render of the w i l l "  sur-  (p.268).  The decline i n this relationship begins when he sees someone else:  "His eyes rested on the cleavage of a blond  bust that blossomed from the contours of an armchair" (p.272). A page l a t e r she notices "the moist stare that betrayed i n Wally the concentration on the physical," and almost immediately the ash symbol returns: "She f e l t the soft give of the ash-trodden carpet . . . . She looked nowhere i n p a r t i c u l a r , into a marble wasteland" (p.274).  Later, when  Wally telephones her after a long s i l e n c e , her body's natural decline i s indicated through the returning motif of the breast:  "The body spread without symmetry i n the  bed, dropped, the breasts, at eleven o'clock, the body had not yet taken on shape" (p.294).  Wally's i n t e r e s t , naturally  enough, has turned to "the blond bust that blossomed" and the image of her i s given i n a veiled recurrence of the breast motif: "In those pyjamas with i n i t i a l s on the doings,"  51 "an A.D.  i n s a t i n n e a r where i t  295-6).  Soon M r s .  Standish  is  showed t h r o u g h "  (pp.  dead.  The u s e o f t h e b r e a s t m o t i f , i n t h e s e and o t h e r instances  i n t h e n o v e l , c r e a t e s r h y t h m i c e f f e c t s beyond  s i g n i f i c a n c e of rise it  and f a l l  links  its  i n d i v i d u a l occurrences.  o f a number o f  these r e l a t i o n s h i p s  I t marks  sexual r e l a t i o n s h i p s ; t o one a n o t h e r  the  the  and  so a s t o  suggest  t h e r e p e a t e d and i n e v i t a b l e r e c u r r e n c e o f an a r c h e t y p a l pattern.  And t h e p a r t i c u l a r c h o i c e o f t h e b r e a s t  functional  s y m b o l i s v a l u a b l e , beyond i t s  t o t h e theme o f further  sexual  relationships,  droop as  transfers his  appropriateness  because  i t allows  satisfaction.  reality.  F o r Mrs  a t t e n t i o n s to the young, the t r a n s i e n c e of  Wally  bosomy b l o n d e .  b e a u t y and o f  human  The m o t i f becomes a c o m p l e x b u t d i r e c t means  the r e n d e r i n g of  vision.  THE L I V I N G AND THE DEAD: Once a g a i n ,  it is  THEME  i n t e r m s o f v i s i o n t h a t t h e theme  o f The L i v i n g and t h e Dead must be d e s c r i b e d .  It  c a n be  s e e n a s a w a s t e l a n d n o v e l i n w h i c h " l i v i n g " and " d e a d " not  a  Standish*s  she a p p r o a c h e s d e a t h , and t h e a g e i n g  Thus White r e v e a l s  for  the  l a y e r o f m e a n i n g t o be p r e s e n t e d , n a m e l y t h e i m -  permanence o f n a t u r a l , phenomenal breasts  as  so much c h o i c e s a v a i l a b l e t o man as t h e y a r e  aspects  o f e x i s t e n c e s e e n t o be i n e v i t a b l e and c o m p l e m e n t a r y . men a r e b o t h l i v i n g and d e a d , and t h o u g h we may  are  All  choose  d i f f e r e n t ways i n w h i c h t o "be a l i v e " y e t a complementary s t a t e of d e a t h i s  inherent i n a l l possible  choices.  The  52 i r o n y at the c e n t r e of W h i t e ' s v i s i o n i s  the  inseparable  wedding of the d e f i n i n g p o l a r i t i e s of e x i s t e n c e . irony is it  g i v e n added d i m e n s i o n i n t h e f a c t t h a t  o p e r a t e s i n s p i t e o f human c h o i c e , c h o i c e  desirable. choice, l i k e Mrs  although  remains  W h e t h e r we r e s i g n o u r c a p a c i t y t o e x e r c i s e  and s i m p l y d r i f t Standish,  i n the c u r r e n t s of  social convention,  o r w h e t h e r we commit o u r s e l v e s  c h o s e n c o u r s e o f a c t i o n , l i k e J o e , t h e end i s f r u s t r a t i o n and d e a t h . a chosen course the  And t h e  still  to a  the  same:  Y e t , p a r a d o x i c a l l y , commitment t o a p p e a r s t o have v a l u e .  Consequently,  c h o i c e of non-commitment w i t h i n t h e a r e a s of  c u r r e n t l y a v a i l a b l e (which i s  choice  as f a r as E l y o t g e t s ) ,  is  s e e n t o be s u p e r i o r t o t h e commitment o f J o e and E d e n because t h e i r s i s  i n v o l u n t a r y and i r r a t i o n a l ,  by p a s s i o n s beyond t h e i r c o n t r o l .  motivated  They have n o t  exercised  c h o i c e i n t h e i r commitment, w h i l s t E l y o t r e m a i n s f r e e t o choose, however,  and s t i l l  seeking.  His  ironic,  f o r i t p r o v i d e s no o b v i o u s l y b e t t e r s t a t e o f  t h a n J o e ' s or E d e n ' s or Mrs the  superiority is  Standish*s.  We f i n d E l y o t  end r e p u d i a t i n g t h e " l i v i n g d e a d " ( p . 3 3 1 ) w h i c h  m o t h e r had become t h r o u g h r e s i g n a t i o n o f h e r w i l l , r e p u d i a t i n g a l s o the " p r o t e s t of  nebulous  q u e s t he f e e l s " l i k e  In  unanswered q u e s t i o n .  his and  something u n a t t a i n a b l e ,  t h e commencement o f  this  someone who h a d b e e n a s l e e p ,  and had o n l y j u s t a w o k e n " ( p . 3 3 5 ) . the  at  s e l f d e s t r u c t i o n " which  E d e n and J o e e x e m p l i f y , i n f a v o u r o f "an i n t e n s e r form of l i v i n g . "  life  Awoken t o w h a t ?  is  E l y o t r e m a i n s one o f t h e l i v i n g  d e a d , e v e n t h o u g h he s e e k s t o a c h i e v e some b e t t e r s t a t e . These paradoxes  are presented through the  total  53 s t r u c t u r e of the p l o t , to which the consciousness a c t s as a k e y . opens  It  and c l o s e s ,  is with his and i t i s  the f i n a l v i s i o n of l i f e  consciousness  of  t h a t the n o v e l  from h i s p o i n t of v i e w t h a t  emerges.  Elyot's  consciousness  i s d e v e l o p e d as a l i m i t e d p e r s o n a of t h e n o v e l i s t , vision  i t embodies.  Elyot  The c o n s c i o u s n e s s  whose  of a l l the o t h e r  c h a r a c t e r s a r e d e v e l o p e d i n c o u n t e r p o i n t , o r harmony,  to  t h e m a i n theme ( E l y o t ' s  the  consciousness),  v i s i o n d e p t h and s c o p e . of music c r i t i c i s m ,  In f a c t ,  so as t o g i v e  to borrow the  t h e m a i n theme i s  language  stated i n the  ten  p a g e s o f t h e f i r s t c h a p t e r , and t h e o t h e r 315 p a g e s a r e sort of  symphonic  development of the statement  s e v e r a l movements,  concluding with a brief  On page 19, f o r e x a m p l e , t h e t o t a l and M r s  Standish's  a  through  re-statement.  s i g n i f i c a n c e of  l i v e s are given i n i m a g i s t i c  Eden's  capsules  w h i c h a r e expanded t h r o u g h the c o u r s e of the n o v e l .  Thus  Eden: She s a t w i t h h e r f a c e i n h e r h a n d s a t d u s k . She s a t b e s i d e anemones. These, s t i l l huddled i n t h e i r b r i t t l e f r i l l s , were n o t q u i t e d e a d . They r u s t l e d l i k e a k i n d o f i m m o r t e l l e . They w o r e t h e i n t e n s e and u s e d up e x p r e s s i o n o f E d e n ' s f a c e , p e r s i s t e n t i n h e r struggle against conventional procedure. In the n o v e l , E d e n ' s l i f e persistence  in this  i s unfolded to r e v e a l her  struggle.  endless  When J u l i a w a n t s C o n n i e  to  sleep i n Eden's bed, Eden s c r e a m e d . They w o u l d n o t t o u c h h e r . I t was a r e s i s t a n c e o f p a s s i o n , l i k e e v e r y t h i n g she d i d , t h e d a r k , e m p h a t i c f a c e t h a t f a i l e d t o c o n t a i n i t s own emotions. She s a t t h e r e s c r e a m i n g w i t h p a s s i o n i n bed. (p.91) From s c h o o l ,  she w r i t e s  home  54 This place i s h e l l , the l a s t terms. Do y o u e v e r f e e l t h a t you w i l l s u f f o c a t e j u s t from b e i n g cooped up w i t h so many u s e l e s s women? . . . Sometimes I c a n g e t away o n my own. I f I ' m c a r e f u l . And damn what h a p p e n s anyway, ( p . 134) Her i n t e r e s t i n Marxism, affair  w i t h Maynard  rebelliousness.  h e r a f f a i r w i t h J o e and h e r  a r e a l l m o t i v a t e d p r i m a r i l y by h e r  She a l l o w s M a y n a r d  t o t a k e h e r t o bed  a g e s t u r e o f d e f i a n c e when he a c c u s e s (p.146).  This  experience of  of aching nausea,  her of  sex d i s g u s t s h e r  t h e dead w e i g h t , "  p.147  "holding ("the  ) but  t o go o f f t o D i e p p e w i t h h i m b e c a u s e he p r e s e n t s  Her L e f t i s t a c t i v i t i e s are i n i t i a l l y against requires against  English  a c t s of  s o c i e t y , b u t she s o o n f i n d s t h a t  intellectual t h i s aspect of  d i s c i p l i n e from her,  so she  back"  sense  she  agrees  i t as  o p p o r t u n i t y t o t o s s out a l l c o n v e n t i o n a l r e s e r v e s ,  as  an  (p.148) rebellion Marxism rebels  it:  She had a b e l i e f i n h e r p a s s i o n . She l o o k e d a t h e r h a n d s and t r i e d t o i g n o r e t h e v o i c e o f t h e B l o o m s b u r y i n t e l l e c t u a l s p i l l i n g s t a t i s t i c s from R u s s i a , from Spain. H e r p a s s i o n was s o m e t h i n g a p a r t f r o m e c o n o m i c equations, (p. 180) She i s  a t t r a c t e d t o J o e , who t u r n s o u t t o be a m i a b l e  enough and a l s o  a r e b e l . He e n j o y s h i s  work,  But b e h i n d a l l t h i s , t h e h a b i t , t h e s u b s t a n t i a l d e t a i l , t h e r e was much t h a t he h a d n ' t a c c o u n t e d f o r . You s t i l l had t o r e c k o n w i t h a k i n d o f s h a p e l e s s f o r c e . I t made y o u w o n d e r . I t was a f o r c e o f o p p o s i t i o n t h a t showed i t s e l f i n moments o f p a i n , i n j u s t i c e , and hunger. You r e s e n t e d t h e d i c t a t o r s h i p o f s o m e t h i n g t h a t you d i d n ' t u n d e r s t a n d , even i f i t h a d n ' t y e t t o u c h e d you p e r s o n a l l y . . . . So t h a t J o e B a r n e t t , i n h i s more t h o u g h t f u l , s e l f l e s s moments c o n s i d e r e d a p o s s i b l e e x i s t e n c e f r e e from t h i s a b s t r a c t d i c t a t o r ship. He c o u l d n o t f o r m u l a t e t h e d e t a i l s o f h i s  55 desired utopia. But he was conscious inside him of a strange, peaceable, physical sensation that persuaded him a state of Tightness must e x i s t , that rightness must predominate, (p. 186) It i s i n t h i s s p i r i t of Utopian escapism that he goes to make his " s a c r i f i c e " i n Spain.  Eden i s l e f t hollow by his  absence, and when he d i e s , she can do nothing but set off on a f i n a l , s u i c i d a l protest against f a t e .  This i s no  more an affirmation of brotherhood or commitment than i s Joe's empty death. Mrs. Standish, on the other hand accepts the l i f e which fate hands out to her, with pathetic d o c i l i t y .  On page 19  she too i s disclosed i n an image: I have brought some l i l i e s , said Mrs.Standish, we must have a party, l i l i e s and people, and what shall we have to eat. The excitement of his mother's voice refreshed by an i n s p i r a t i o n , as i t came i n on a September evening. Eden's groan. She i s the obverse of Eden.  An " i n s p i r a t i o n " for her amounts  to an item i n the conventional, social routine suggesting i t s e l f to her mind.  She w i l l be occupied for days with  formal d e t a i l s , and the inherent value of her a c t i v i t i e s i s never considered. The decline of Mrs Standish into t h i s state of moral abdication i s one of the novel's most s k i l l f u l l y handled strands of development rendered through rhythm and pattern with recurring motifs.  The central development can be  sketched b r i e f l y . As a young g i r l , K i t t y Goose, exhibits none of the drooping weariness of t h e l l a t e r Catherine Standish, but i s carried along on impulses of v i t a l i t y :  56 K i t t y Goose stepped down i n t o t h e s t r e e t . She c o u l d not p u l l t o o hard a t a h e s i t a n t door, almost j e r k i n g from i t s socket e i t h e r knob o r arm. (p.21) But she r a p i d l y d e v e l o p s a nagging sense o f m e a n i n g l e s s n e s s as she a c q u i r e s an i n c r e a s i n g s e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s , o r l u c i d i t y , i n the e x i s t e n t i a l i s t  sense:  She was a t e a c h e r , she t o l d h e r s e l f , w i t h a l i t t l e s t a r t o f amazement, o f f e a r , f o r she was no d i f f e r e n t i n t h e g l a s s , unchanged from t h e f a c e t h a t swept d i r e c t i o n l e s s on a wave o f Swinburne i n t h e room a t home. And s t i l l d i r e c t i o n l e s s , t h e t e a c h e r i n t h e l a n e , i n s p i t e o f o f f i c i a l mornings a t a r a i s e d t a b l e w a t c h i n g h e r s u p e r i o r hands u n d e r l i n e i n r e d i n k , she was t h e blown g r a s s i n c o u n t r y l a n e s , (p.29) T h i s d i s t u r b i n g p r o c e s s o f s e l f d i s c o v e r y i s soon o v e r l a i d f o r h e r by h e r involvement i n s o c i a l  relationships.  Her beau a r r i v e s , h a v i n g kept h e r w a i t i n g i n t h e c o l d of w i n t e r and s e l f - s c r u t i n y , and we a r e t o l d , "she d i s s o l v e d i n g r a t i t u d e " (p.29).  And she l e a r n s t o d i s p e l t h e anguished  t h o u g h t s which t r o u b l e h e r , by p o s i n g i n some s o c i a l or  role  another. You p l a y e d t h e charade f o r a l l you were w o r t h , i g n o r i n g t h e moments o f u n c e r t a i n t y , (p.35)  As a young b r i d e , I t was f u n , i n a w o r l d o f e n d l e s s p o s s i b i l i t y c r e a t e d when she m a r r i e d W i l l y , (p.39) And l a t e r , when t h i s r o l e p a l l s , as a mother: She was a c t u a l l y going t o have a c h i l d . I t made her f e e l r a t h e r solemn. I t invested her w i t h d i g n i t y , (p.45) And she enjoyed t h i s , h e r new p o s s e s s i o n . I t was a s a f e g u a r d , she f e l t u n c o n s c i o u s l y , a g a i n s t t h e e x p r e s s i o n l e s s m a l a i s e , (p.47) As one excitement a f t e r another grows t o a c l i m a x and  57  then fades out, and as they grow less and less frequent, she learns to f i l l her l i f e with the mere forms and processes of social convention, and so she continues, with an occasional, dim recurrence of the old l u c i d i t y .  She  yawns at herself i n mirrors and i s forever picking flowers apart--a major motif of the novel, t h i s , found also i n , for  instance, T.S.Eliot's "Portrait of a Lady".  She has  a l a s t , pathetic f l i n g with Wally, and sinks into death. She i s one of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of existence open to E l y o t . She i s rendered with great s k i l l r t e c h n i c a l l y , and i s made memorable through the moral realism which informs White's v i s i o n of her: Her n a i l s blanched against each other, fastened against a strand of h a i r , almost as i f she suspected l i c e . Or perhaps not. Perhaps more probable that Mrs Standish was bored, bored, BORED, though i f she had expressed i t h e r s e l f , she would c e r t a i n l y have said: j 1 a i des ennuis. mon cher. (p.182) Out of t h i s pattern of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of l i v i n g death and s u i c i d a l l i f e , Elyot emerges as an alienated f i g u r e , tormented by his l u c i d consciousness.  At the end,  when his mother and s i s t e r have l e f t him and he has "no longer even the tyrrany of a personal routine," (p.334) he climbs into a bus "bound nowhere i n p a r t i c u l a r , " and passes on through the wasteland hoping dimly for some means of establishing a l i v i n g relationship with his fellow  9 t r a v e l l e r s , " l i k e the voices of people who wake  and find  they have come to the end of a journey, saying:  Then we  are here, we have s l e p t , but we have r e a l l y got here at last."  58 For those r e a d e r s who can i d e n t i f y w i t h E l y o t S t a n d i s h , The  L i v i n g and t h e Dead i s an important  with s k i l l f u l  novel, presenting,  c o m p l e x i t y , an honest and v i v i d  of l i f e i n i t s m y s t e r i o u s  experience  and p a r a d o x i c a l n a t u r e .  Those  who f i n d E l y o t unworthy o f sympathy w i l l p r o b a b l y n o t make the e f f o r t t o comprehend t h e n o v e l .  F o r one r e a d e r a t  l e a s t , E l y o t stands w i t h Theodora and Himmelfarb and Stan P a r k e r , as a r e p r e s e n t a t i v e human f i g u r e , c o n c e i v e d i n t r u t h and rendered  with great a e s t h e t i c appeal.  59 CHAPTER I I I PARTICIPATION AND SURVIVAL IN THE ALIEN WORLD YOUNG MAN (yawning, a d d r e s s i n g t h e audience) I have j u s t woken, i t seems. I t i s about . . . w e l l , t h e time doesn't m a t t e r . The same a p p l i e s t o my o r i g i n s . I t c o u l d be t h a t I was born i n Birmingham . . . o r B r o o k l y n . . . o r Murwillumbah. What _is i m p o r t a n t i s t h a t , thanks t o a s u c c e s s i o n o f meat p i e s ( t h e g r i s t l e - a n d - g r a v y , c a r d b o a r d k i n d ) and many cups o f p i n k t e a , I am a l i v e ! T h e r e f o r e . . . and t h i s i s the r a t h e r p a i n f u l p o i n t . . . I must go i n soon and t a k e p a r t i n t h e p l a y , w h i c h , as u s u a l , i s a p i e c e about e e l s . As I am a l s o a poet . . . though, t o be p e r f e c t l y honest, I have n o t y e t found out f o r sure . . . my dilemma i n t h e p l a y i s how t o t a k e p a r t i n the c o n f l i c t o f e e l s , and s u r v i v e a t t h e same time . . . becoming a k i n d o f Roman c a n d l e . . . f i z z i n g f o r ever i n t h e d a r k . ( P a t r i c k White, p r o l o g u e t o The Ham F u n e r a l ) PART I .  THE AUNT'S STORY  The t i t l e s o f White's f i r s t t h r e e p u b l i s h e d n o v e l s a r e an i n d e x t o t h e development o f h i s concern as an a r t i s t - - t o h i s s e l e c t i o n and treatment o f s u b j e c t - m a t t e r .  It i sa  development from t h e g e n e r a l t o t h e p a r t i c u l a r , a c l a r i f i c a t i o n , a n a r r o w i n g down o f f o c u s , w i t h i n c r e a s i n g a t t e n t i o n g i v e n t o t h e d e p i c t i n g of i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r and c o n s c i o u s n e s s . An e a r l y , u n p u b l i s h e d n o v e l i s r e c o r d e d w i t h t h e g e n e r a l , a b s t r a c t t i t l e "No More R e a l i t y " (1935).*"  Then comes  Happy V a l l e y (1939), d e a l i n g w i t h s o c i e t y a t l a r g e , as r e p r e s e n t e d i n t h e f a i r l y wide range of c h a r a c t e r s p e o p l i n g  60 a small town.  The Living and the Dead (1941), presents a  smaller number of individuals and i s designed to reveal certain limited states of consciousness as embodied i n the three Standishes;  the rendering of consciousness i s  narrower i n range and more intense i n texture, than i n Happy V a l l e y .  In The Aunt 1 s Story (1948), White's v i s i o n  i s focussed even more exclusively  and more intensively  on  a single main character. We  see then that the development i s from society, to  a small number of i n d i v i d u a l s , to one i n d i v i d u a l .  The  canvas remains of constant size (about 110,000 words i n each case) whilst man,  the subject, i s magnified u n t i l a single  image almost f i l l s the p i c t u r e .  The p o r t r a i t of Theodora,  constantly expanding through the time dimension of the novel, so f i l l s The Aunt's Story as to make i t a v i v i d l y intense product of White's v i s i o n , more so than any other novel, from Happy Valley to The Solid Mandala.  In the four l a t e r  novels, beginning with The Tree of Man. White once again reduces the size of the central images, i n order to f i t more on to the canvas.  And although The Solid Mandala and,  to a lesser extent, Riders i n the Chariot achieve  intensity  through the p a r a l l e l presentation of complementary or similar characters, i t i s a complex i n t e n s i t y , achieved at the expense of the v i v i d simplicity of The Aunt's Story. But the image of Theodora must not be taken to represent a b e l i e f on White's part that essential human values reside in only one kind of person, l e t alone i n a single i n d i v i d u a l . Theodora i s by no means an ideal f i g u r e , tormented as she i s by the l u c i d i t y that brings her f i n a l l y to a mental  61  asylum.  She i s ,  r a t h e r , by n a t u r a l endowment  a c c i d e n t s of biography, accompanied  a person  by e x t r e m e a n g u i s h .  of her l u c i d  who e x i s t on l e s s e r  prevents  i n r e v e a l i n g the  integrity  planes  of  h i m t o see t h a t t h e p e o p l e self-awareness  t h e same c l a i m s on h i s m o r a l  she d o e s .  realism  is  state.  The same r e a l i s m e n a b l e s  have  the  i n whom s e l f - a w a r e n e s s White's  him from m i n i m i z i n g the a n g u i s h ,  and  than  Theodora's  i n t e r e s t as an a r t i s t ,  T h a t t h e y a r e d i f f e r e n t f r o m T h e o d o r a and  one a n o t h e r ,  is  clear;  but i t i s  f e l l o w - s u f f e r e r s of hers  as  from  also c l e a r that they  are  i n the w o r l d of cleavage  and p a i n .  Furthermore, White  sees t h a t , even f o r t h e s e l e s s  conscious  individuals,  o n l y by s t r i v i n g  i t is  t o apprehend  "the  mystery  and t h e p o e t r y , " w h i c h l i e b e n e a t h " t h e i n e s s e n t i a l  outer  shell,"  All  this  t h a t t h e y c a n "make t h e i r l i v e s b e a r a b l e . "  comes  through  t o us  i n The T r e e o f Man, w h i c h i s  some ways a c o m p l e m e n t a r y v o l u m e  t o The A u n t ' s  extreme form of  l u c i d self-awareness,  of Theodora,  b a l a n c e d by t h e u n e x c e p t i o n a l ,  figures  of  is  S t a n and Amy P a r k e r .  much t h e o b v i o u s Theodora,  stand  the  of  the d u t y ) ,  a tormenting  are a f f i r m a t i o n s of the r i g h t  i s not  vision.  the f a c t s of  so  and  reactions  t o see and as f a r as sense of  underthey  alienation.  (or perhaps  and t h e power o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l t o a c c e p t  he c a n see o f that  compulsion  image  average  s t r i k e s us  t h e i r environment,  a r e a b l e , and t h e g r o w t h o f  The  i n the p e c u l i a r  s i m i l a r i t y of t h e i r  experiences--the  mysteries  Both n o v e l s  Story;  d i f f e r e n c e s between the P a r k e r s  but the g e n e r i c  to t h e i r l i f e  What  in  e x i s t e n c e , and t o s u r v i v e  even what with  62 Yet another aspect of W h i t e ' s  realism is  i n t h e s e two n o v e l s  of the middle p e r i o d :  the c e n t r a l f i g u r e s  having  sentimentalized.  That i s  reader's  credence.  w i t h the honesty theoretical  it  is  the problem of  i s n o t r e s o l v e d i n some manner w h i c h p u t s White simply renders  found  The a n g u i s h  been r e c o g n i s e d , to say,  t o be  i n no way anguish  a s t r a i n on t h e t h e s t a t e o f man  o f h i s v i s i o n and d o e s n o t a t t e m p t  solution.  any  A l t h o u g h T h e o d o r a and S t a n do come  a t l a s t t o s t a t e s o f p e r s o n a l r e s o l u t i o n and p e a c e , means o f a t t a i n i n g t h e s e s t a t e s White p r e s e n t s  sense of  or  of  V o s s and R i d e r s  by t h e i r s t r a n g e spiritual  is  i n the C h a r i o t ,  rather Two  are marred  attempts to suggest the p o s s i b i l i t y of  s u p e r n a t u r a l communion, w h i c h r e l i e v e s  i n f l u e n c e on a n o t h e r .  dispenses  w i t h m y s t i c i s m , but h i s  certain psychological  to exercise a c e r t a i n  tends to c l o u d  novels  when we come t o c o n s i d e r Story  and The T r e e o f  t h i s m i d d l e p e r i o d , W h i t e has more o r l e s s he h a s g i v e n a r t i s t i c  Man.  exhausted  In  subsequent  ( e . g . We may c o n s i d e r  M i s s H a r e , A n t h e a , Waldo and o t h e r s ,  how  embodiment t o t h e  c h i e f p e r c e p t i o n s w h i c h make up h i s v i s i o n . w o r k he c a n a m p l i f y and v a r y  his  existence.  The r e l a t i v e w e a k n e s s e s o f theme i n t h e l a t e r  a c h i e v e d i n The A u n t ' s  White  concern to d e l i n e a t e  v i s i o n of the fundamental problems of  h i s main theme;  individual,  I n The S o l i d M a n d a l a .  type-divisions  are not a c t u a l l y s u r p r i s i n g ,  a  the  i s o l a t i o n from the anguish of the c o n s c i o u s  spiritual  In  novels.  the Rasselas v a r i e t y .  and w h i c h , i n V o s s , e n a b l e s one p e r s o n  much i s  the  i n s c r u t a b l e i n the  them t h r o u g h p s y c h i c m a n i f e s t a t i o n s  t h a n p h i l o s o p h i c a l argument later novels,  of  as v a r i a t i o n s  Laura, and  63 developments of the c h a r a c t e r of Theodora, Robarts,  Mrs Godbold, A r t h u r  extensions  He c a n a l s o  c e r t a i n new d i r e c t i o n s ( e . g .  satiric  of  products of White's  his  Story  handled s k i l l f u l l y internal patterns. completeness  of the c h a r a c t e r s .  is  be c o n s i d e r e d a t  most are,  evident  length.  the development of c o n s c i o u s n e s s through  I n The T r e e o f Man t h e s e n s e o f  In  is  t h e o v e r a l l s t r u c t u r e and t h e  and d i s l o c a t i o n i n t h e p r o s e  less  crucial  These n o v e l s  technique i n these novels  o f r e n d e r i n g t h e m e n t a l i n a d e q u a c y and  motifs is  story.)  as an a r t i s t a r e p r e s e n t e d  i n a number o f ways w h i c h w i l l 1  (One  gospels.  The m a t u r i t y o f  I n The A u n t s  in society.  i n t h e p l a y and  d i r e c t l y and w i t h a m a t u r e d t e c h n i q u e . so t o s p e a k ,  aspect  increasingly  of the middle p e r i o d , the  vision  in  o f H i m m e l f a r b , and t h e  the "Cheery S o u l "  But i n t h e two n o v e l s  similar  branch o f f  show an  i n t o l e r a n c e of moral blindness  portrait  as  The a n t i - N i e t z s c h e a n  The l a t e r w o r k s a l s o  t h i n k s of the " c r u c i f i x i o n "  Harry  Brown and o t h e r s ,  of Stan P a r k e r . )  of Voss.)  and  both n o v e l s ,  in-  becomes a means  inarticulateness  t h e web o f  images  and  f i n e l y woven t h a n i n The L i v i n g and t h e D e a d ,  and t h i s makes f o r a c l e a r e r and more e m p h a t i c  rendering,  a t t h e e x p e n s e o f t h e more m i n u t e i m p r e s s i o n s .  Rhythmic  strands  and p a t t e r n s o f m o t i f a r e r e s e r v e d f o r  expression instance, Aunt s 1  the  o f t h e most c e n t r a l a s p e c t s o f t h e m e .  For  the i n d i v i d u a l search f o r understanding,  Story,  is  i n The  g i v e n r h y t h m i c i n t e n s i t y and a s e n s e o f  p e r p e t u i t y by i t s r e c u r r e n c e i n t h e s e q u e n c e o f Theodora, Lou, K a t i n a .  questers--  And t h e " b o n e s " m o t i f , w h i c h i s  so  64 important to the a r t i s t ' s v i s i o n  i n the n o v e l ,  is  given  g r e a t e r e f f e c t i v e n e s s by t h e f a c t t h a t t h e r e a r e f e w e r s e c o n d a r y m o t i f s t h a n i n The L i v i n g and t h e D e a d ,  a . THE A U N T ' S STORY:  TECHNIQUE  The most n o t i c e a b l e t e c h n i c a l f e a t u r e o f The Story In  is  Aunt s 1  i t s d i v i s i o n into three very d i f f e r e n t parts.  the course of a f i r s t r e a d i n g i t  see e x a c t l y how t h e s e p a r t s  is often d i f f i c u l t  inter-relate.  Thelma  to  Herring's  2 e l a b o r a t i o n of provides  t h e O d y s s e y theme i n The A u n t s  Story  1  a v a l u a b l e c l u e ; f o r we s h o u l d o b s e r v e  that  the  n o v e l i s p l o t t e d b r o a d l y as a s t o r y o f q u e s t , w i t h a beginning,  a m i d d l e and an e n d .  Theodora's  quest w i l l  of themes.  What  is  The s i g n i f i c a n c e  be c o n s i d e r e d l a t e r i n t h e  important to n o t i c e at t h i s  of analysis  point,  i s how t h e t h r e e p a r t s a r e c o n s t r u c t e d so as t o d e v e l o p  the  s e p a r a t i o n b e t w e e n two d i f f e r e n t and i n t e r w o v e n r e c o r d s  of  e x p e r i e n c e - - t h e o b j e c t i v e n a r r a t i v e and t h e account of consciousness, narrator  It  is  b o t h g i v e n by t h e n a r r a t o r .  i s o m n i s c i e n t and r e n d e r s  i n the t h i r d person.  subjective  the story  throughout  H i s p o i n t of view i s d u a l ,  a l t e r n a t e l y Theodora's  The  however.  and t h a t o f a " n o r m a l "  person;  and b e c a u s e o f t h e way i n w h i c h t h e n a r r a t i v e s h u t t l e s and f o r t h f r o m t h e s e two d i f f e r e n t s t a n d p o i n t s , r e q u i r e s the c l o s e s t if  he w i s h e s  "fact",  a t t e n t i o n on t h e p a r t o f  to f o l l o w whether t h i n g s  or merely i n Theodora's  the H o l s t i u s  figure is  it  the  often reader  are happening  mind.  a good e x a m p l e . )  in  (The a p p e a r a n c e This  back  element  a m b i g u i t y i s u n d o u b t e d l y d e l i b e r a t e on W h i t e ' s p a r t ,  of of  for  65 i t creates i n us, i n i t i a l l y , to  the same kind of doubt as  the difference between r e a l i t y and i l l u s i o n , as Theodora  experiences. Here then i s the objective story of Theodora's quest, as i t can be separated from the medley, for our f i n a l appreciation of the novel: In Part One Theodora grows up to become a lonely, middle-aged spinster.  After the f a i l u r e of her a f f a i r  with Huntley Clarkson, she comes to a desperate r e a l i z a t i o n that her l i f e lacks something which her immediate environment cannot provide.  She i s ready to begin her quest,  though she i s not quite sure of i t s object: At t h i s p o i n t , Theodora sometimes said, I should begin to read Gibbon, or find r e l i g i o n , instead of speaking to myself i n my own room. But words, whether written or spoken, were at most f r a i l slat bridges over chasms, and Mrs Goodman had never encouraged r e l i g i o n , as she herself was God. So i t w i l l not be by these means, Theodora said, that the great monster Self w i l l be destroyed, and that desirable state achieved, which resembles, and would imagine, nothing more than a i r or water, (p.134) Then her mother d i e s , so that she i s released from social t i e s and can act f r e e l y , but she does not know what to do: If she l e f t the prospect of freedom unexplored, i t was less from a sense of remorse than from not knowing what to do. (p.10) She rejects the temptation to "die again" for her mother (i.e.  to f a l l into nostalgic reverie) as she had done once  when her father died. (p.135)  So she decides i n the end,  rather uncertain of her object, to t r a v e l : "Will you r e a l l y go away, Aunt Theo?" asked Lou.  66 "Yes," s a i d Theodora, " I s h a l l go away." "Then t h e r e w i l l a l o t of o t h e r s t o r i e s to t e l l . " " I expect n o t , " Theodora s a i d . "Why?" asked Lou. "Because t h e r e are people who do not have many s t o r i e s to t e l l . " There were the p e o p l e as empty as a f i l i g r e e b a l l , though even these would f i l l at times w i t h a sudden f i r e . (p.136) In P a r t Two  we  f i n d her at the H o t e l du M i d i i n the  South of F r a n c e , u t t e r l y d i s i l l u s i o n e d a f t e r her  travels  round Europe, but s t i l l w a i t i n g , and w i t h hope not q u i t e extinguished: S t i l l , t h e r e w i l l always be p e o p l e , Theodora Goodman s a i d , and she c o n t i n u e d t o w a i t w i t h something of the s u p e r i o r acceptance of mahogany f o r f r e s h a c t s . (p.141) She has chosen t h i s h o t e l because i t s brochure  advertised a  l a r d i n e x o t i q u e and she " c o n s i d e r e d i t s p o s s i b i l i t y "  (p.142).  So she goes h o p e f u l l y i n t o the l a r d i n , and we are reminded as she does so t h a t the r e s t of Europe has f a i l e d h e r ,  so  t h a t t h i s i s her l a s t hope: As she stepped o u t , she hoped t h a t the garden would be the g o a l of a j o u r n e y . There had been many g o a l s , a l l of them d e c e p t i v e . I n P a r i s , the m e t a l h a t s j u s t f a i l e d to t i n k l e . The g r e a t soprano i n Dresden sang up her s o u l f o r l o v e i n t o a wooden cup. . . . Throughout the g o t h i c s h e l l of Europe, i n which t h e r e had never been such a buying and s e l l i n g , of semip r e c i o u s a s p i r a t i o n s , b u l l s * b l o o d , and s t u f f e d doves, the stone arches c r a c k e d , the a c h i n g w i l d e r n e s s , i n which the g h o s t s of Homer and S t . P a u l and T o l s t o y w a i t e d f o r the c r a s h , (p. 145-6) The garden t u r n s out t o be a h a r s h , d e s t r u c t i v e p l a c e (developed as a w a s t e l a n d her no p r o f i t ;  symbol of the w o r l d ) , and a f f o r d s  n e i t h e r does the h o t e l (developed as a  67 symbol of Europe's " g o t h i c s h e l l " ) , nor i t s i n h a b i t a n t s . The h o t e l burns down, k i l l i n g or s c a t t e r i n g the r e s i d e n t s , and l e a v i n g the p e r s i s t e n t j a r d i n t o s u r v i v e b e h i n d the smoky r u i n s .  Thus Theodora's t r a v e l s have come t o n o t h i n g :  Europe has crumbled and the w o r l d remains a p r i c k l y c a c t u s garden.  She i s now d i r e c t i o n l e s s a g a i n , and u t t e r s the  vague s u g g e s t i o n s of r e t u r n i n g t o A u s t r a l i a , which she c a l l s " A b y s s i n i a " s i n c e the g e o g r a p h i c a l w o r l d has  now  become as u n r e a l t o her as the A b y s s i n i a n Meroe was when she was a c h i l d on her f a t h e r ' s farm. I n P a r t Three, Theodora i s r e t u r n i n g t o A u s t r a l i a when her quest t a k e s a d r a m a t i c t u r n .  She suddenly d e c i d e s  t o r e b e l a g a i n s t the c o n v e n t i o n s of the known, s o c i a l w o r l d , by d i s a p p e a r i n g i n t o anonymity.  She s t e p s i n t o the pre-dawn  darkness from her t r a i n , l e a v i n g i t t o go " w i t h a l l i t s m a g n i f i c e n c e of purpose, towards C a l i f o r n i a " ( p . 2 7 5 ) .  Then  she escapes from the t r u c k i n which Jake i s t a k i n g her t o a m o t e l , and chooses f o r d i r e c t i o n "the road t h a t (p.277).  opened"  T h i s l e a d s her t o t h e Johnsons' house where, s t r i p p e d  of her i t i n e r a r y , her documents and her name, she s t a y s a few h o u r s .  F i n a l l y she i s d r i v e n away from the Johnsons'  by the s i g h t of a c l o c k which reminds her of the w o r l d from which she i s t r y i n g t o escape, towards " h u m i l i t y , t o anonymity, t o p u r e n e s s of b e i n g " (p.284).  So she wanders up the h i l l  where she f i n d s an o l d , d e s e r t e d , " b l a n k house" ( p . 2 8 9 ) . Here she w a i t s f o r "some u l t i m a t e moment of c l e a r v i s i o n " (p.290) which comes, i n due c o u r s e , i n the h a l l u c i n a t o r y f i g u r e of H o l s t i u s .  With h i s appearance, and h i s c o n v e r s a t i o n ,  her p s y c h i c b a l a n c e becomes s t r a n g e l y a l t e r e d , so t h a t she  68 i s a b l e t o adopt an a t t i t u d e of complete composure and acceptance i n the f a c e o f t h e paradoxes and t e n s i o n s which have t o r t u r e d her mind f o r decades.  C o m p l e t e l y a t peace,  having a t t a i n e d the object of her quest,  she a l l o w s t h e  d o c t o r t o t a k e her o f f t o t h e asylum, and t h e n o v e l ends. W h i l e t h i s o b j e c t i v e n a r r a t i v e , or p l o t , i s worked o u t , Theodora's i n n e r l i f e - - h e r p r i v a t e w o r l d o f p e r s o n a l r e a l i t y — i s r e v e a l e d i n the n o v e l L a r g e l y t h r o u g h t h e subj e c t i v e n a r r a t i v e , which forms a r e c o r d of her White i n d i c a t e s t h e p r o g r e s s narrowing  o f t h i s i n n e r l i f e , by g r a d u a l l y  t h e range of her c o n s c i o u s n e s s ,  almost c o m p l e t e l y  consciousness.  solipsistic.  u n t i l she becomes  And t h e e x t e n t of Theodora's  d e v i a t i o n from o b j e c t i v e " n o r m a l i t y " i s emphasized  through-  out by t h e f a c t t h a t the n a r r a t o r i s c o n s t a n t l y a l t e r n a t i n g between the two c o n t r a s t i n g p o i n t s o f v i e w .  Thus her p r o -  g r e s s i s measured by the c o n s t a n t j u x t a p o s i t i o n o f her consciousness  w i t h the " f a c t u a l " account.  Having seen the  " f a c t s " o f t h e s t o r y , we can now t r a c e out t h e more complex account o f Theodora's  consciousness.  From t h e b e g i n n i n g o f her l i f e - s t o r y Theodora i s shown t o have a r a t i o n a l , e n q u i r i n g mind.  She does n o t s h r i n k from  examining a l l a s p e c t s of t h i n g s t h a t she e n c o u n t e r s , her e x a m i n a t i o n  and  o f t e n l e a v e s her w i t h a sense of m y s t e r y .  Thus i n h e r mother's garden she f i n d s : There was a s m a l l p a l e grub c u r l e d i n t h e h e a r t of the r o s e . She c o u l d n o t l o o k t o o l o n g a t t h e grubt h i n g s t i r r i n g as she opened the p e t a l s t o t h e l i g h t , (p.21) Her  s i s t e r would r e p u d i a t e , would w i l l i n g l y deny t h e e x i s t -  ence, o f such d i s t a s t e f u l t h i n g s :  69 "Horrid, beastly grub," said Fanny, who was pretty and as pink as roses, (p.21)  as  At this stage i n her development, Theodora i s unable to do anything more than merely accept t h i s difference between herself and Fanny, and go on l i v i n g i n the routine of the family. Theodora had not yet learned to dispute the apparently indisputable. But she could not condemn her pale and touching grub. She could not subtract i t from the sum t o t a l of the garden. So, without arguing, she closed the rose. (p.21) Her consciousness  of mysteries i n the nature of things  grows, with each of several experiences, and she begins to be plagued by a desire to understand. The house continued to s t i r with the great mystery that had taken place i . e . Pearl's pregnancy and dismissal . There was always a great deal that never got explained. "I would l i k e to know," said Theodora, "I would l i k e to know everything." (p.39) "I shall know everything," Theodora said. To wrap i t up and put i t i n a box. This i s the property of Theodora Goodman. But u n t i l t h i s time things floated out of reach. She put out her hand they bobbed and were gone. (p.40) Up to this p o i n t , the contrast developed i s not so much one between subjective and objective n a r r a t i v e s , as between generally d i f f e r e n t i n t e l l e c t u a l attitudes to l i f e . On the one hand, Theodora ( l i k e her father) notices the inexplicable or mysterious things and t r i e s to puzzle them out.  On the other hand, Fanny ( l i k e her mother) manages  to see only the things which w i l l not puzzle her:  70 F a t h e r once s a i d t o Mother t h a t Fanny would always ask the q u e s t i o n s t h a t have answers, (p.40) But near the end of t h i s f i r s t  c h a p t e r o f Theodora's  (Chapter Two), her e x p e r i e n c e w i t h The Man Who His  Given  D i n n e r l e a d s t o something more than a mere i n t e l l e c t u a l  attitude. of  Was  story  I t l e a d s t o a sudden i n v e r s i o n o f v i s i o n , a k i n d  Joycean epiphany i n which the "normal" appearance of  o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y i s momentarily d i s t o r t e d : "What do you do?" she asked. "I look f o r gold." "Why?" "Because," he s a i d , " i t i s as good a way of p a s s i n g your l i f e as any o t h e r . " T h i s sounded funny. I t made the w a l l s d i s s o l v e , the stone w a l l s o f Meroe, as f l a t as w a t e r , so t h a t the p e o p l e s i t t i n g i n s i d e were now exposed, t r e a d l i n g a sewing machine, b a k i n g a l o a f , or adding up a c c o u n t s . But the man walked on the d i s s o l v e d w a l l s , and h i s beard blew. (p.41) Meanwhile, the man h i m s e l f r e c o g n i s i n g her c a p a c i t y f o r e n t e r t a i n i n g doubt about the d i s t i n c t i o n between i l l u s i o n and  reality: "They say p e o p l e who take t o t h e mountains 're c r a z y , "he yawned. "And perhaps t h e y ' r e r i g h t . Though who's c r a z y and who i s n ' t ? Can you t e l l me t h a t young Theodora Goodman? I bet you c o u l d n ' t . " (p.45) The r e m a i n i n g f o u r c h a p t e r s of P a r t One r e p e a t and  expand so as t o c r e a t e a l o o s e p a t t e r n , the elements e s t a b l i s h e d i n Chapter Two.  I n each of t h e s e c h a p t e r s , Theodora r e c o g -  n i s e s more and more, the m y s t e r i o u s n a t u r e of e x i s t e n c e , and i s t r o u b l e d by her i n a b i l i t y t o r e s o l v e the m y s t e r i e s .  The  d i f f e r e n c e between h e r s e l f and most of the p e o p l e she knows,  71 becomes i n c r e a s i n g l y e v i d e n t t o h e r , and i s clouded by o v e r t o n e s of f e a r and  rejection:  [Tina R u s s e l l ] l o o k e d at Theodora, s e n s i n g something t h a t she would not u n d e r s t a n d , and p o s s i b l y something from which she must defend h e r s e l f , o r even h a t e , (p.49) She hated Theodora s t i l l , p l a i n e d , (p.63)  she hated what was unex-  [ F r a n k P a r r o t t j would have hated her f o r the i n c i d e n t of the hawk, hated her out o f h i s v a n i t y , but because t h e r e was something t h a t he d i d not u n d e r s t a n d , he remained i n s t e a d uneasy, almost a l i t t l e b i t a f r a i d , (p.74) She a l s o r e c o g n i s e s a k i n s h i p w i t h a s m a l l number of p e o p l e — her f a t h e r , V i o l e t Adams, Mora'itis.--and i n her c o n t a c t w i t h them, she e x p e r i e n c e s a s e r i e s of p r o g r e s s i v e l y s t r o n g e r e p i p h a n i e s , o f the same k i n d as t h e o r i g i n a l one she had w i t h The Man Who  Was  Given H i s Dinner.  Thus, a f t e r her f a t h e r ' s  d e a t h , her " r e a l " environment d i s s o l v e s i n t o a grey waste land: She walked out through t h e passages, through the s l e e p of o t h e r p e o p l e . She was t h i n as grey l i g h t , as i f she had j u s t d i e d . She would not wake t h e o t h e r s . I t was s t i l l too t e r r i b l e t o t e l l , too p r i v a t e an e x p e r i e n c e . As i f she were t o go i n t o the room and say: Mother, I am dead, I am dead, Meroe' has crumbled. So she went o u t s i d e where the g r e y l i g h t was as t h i n as water and Mero'e had, i n f a c t , d i s s o l v e d . Cocks were crowing the legend of day, but o n l y the l e g e n d . Meroe was grey water, g r e y ash. (p.88) S h o r t l y b e f o r e the end of P a r t One,  the t e n s i o n  e x i s t i n g between her i n n e r v i s i o n of s u b j e c t i v e  reality  72 (which has burst into her consciousness at the various moments of epiphanal illumination) and her existence and s o c i a l a c t i v i t y i n the outer, "normal" world, becomes too much for her to continue to accept p a s s i v e l y . of  The incident  the shooting of clay ducks at the f a i r i s rendered as a  psychological projection of her desire to break through the surface of apparent r e a l i t y , to cut through the canvas world (as L i e s e l o t t e does i n Part Two, p.176) and discover a world of truth: She stood already i n the canvas landscape, against which the ducks jerked, her canvas arms animated by some emotion that was scarcely hers. Because the canvas moments w i l l come to l i f e of their own accord . . . . The Man who was Given his Dinner, and Mora'itis, for some, had already shown her t h i s . Now she stood in the smell of f l i n t and powdered f l e s h , from which the world of Huntly Clarkson had receded, and she took aim at the clay heads of the jerking ducks. She took aim, and the dead, white, discarded moment f e l l shattered the duck bobbed headless. "Good for Theodora," Ralph said. ... They watched the clay ducks shatter each time Theodora f i r e d , and i t was as i f each time a secret l i f e was shattered, of which they had not been aware, and probably never would have, but they resented the p o s s i b i l i t y removed. It was something mysterious, shameful, and grotesque, (p.124) By this symbolic act of destruction, Theodora has asserted for  h e r s e l f , and i n the sight of others, not only the  difference between herself and them, but also her right and her power to l i v e according to her own v i s i o n of r e a l i t y : Behind them the others walked, half knowing, i n t h e i r s i l e n c e , ever since Theodora had shot the clay heads off the ducks, that she was separated from then for ever by something that their smooth minds would not grope towards, preferring sofas to a hard bench, (p.125)  73 The  l a s t sentences o f P a r t One i n d i c a t e t h e degree t o  w h i c h h e r i n n e r v i s i o n has p r o g r e s s e d normality:  away from o b j e c t i v e  Even t h e s i m p l e s t , everyday t h i n g s now p u z z l e  h e r , and i t i s i n t h i s c o n d i t i o n t h a t she f e e l s the need t o embark on her q u e s t : I s h a l l go, s a i d Theodora, I have a l r e a d y gone. The s i m p l i c i t y of what u l t i m a t e l y happens h o l l o w e d her o u t . She was p a r t of a s u r p r i s i n g w o r l d i n which hands, f o r r e a s o n s no l o n g e r o b v i o u s , had p u t t a b l e s and c h a i r s , (p.137) I n P a r t Two o f The Aunt's S t o r y , we have t h e m i d d l e stage o f Theodora's i n n e r development. novel i s probably  T h i s s e c t i o n of t h e  t h e most e l a b o r a t e t e c h n i c a l s t r u c t u r e i n  the White canon, and i t i n v i t e s e x t e n s i v e c r i t i c i s m . are such m a t t e r s ,  There  f o r example, as t h e d e r i v a t i v e l i n k s w i t h  Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, and ( i n t h e c o n s t r u c t i o n of t h e c h a p t e r s ) w i t h J o y c e ' s D u b l i n e r s .  At t h i s p o i n t we  are concerned o n l y w i t h t h e way i n which t h e d u a l s t r u c t u r e of s u b j e c t i v e and o b j e c t i v e c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f P a r t Two, and i t s i n t e r - r e l a t i o n w i t h the other p a r t s , r e v e a l the progress of Theodora's e x p e r i e n c e The  i n alienation.  f i r s t t h r e e c h a p t e r s o f P a r t Two ( C h a p t e r s Seven,  E i g h t and N i n e ) , p r e s e n t  the morning, a f t e r n o o n and n i g h t ,  r e s p e c t i v e l y , of Theodora's f i r s t day a t t h e HOtel du M i d i . I n t h e c o u r s e o f t h i s day, she e n c o u n t e r s and c o n v e r s e s w i t h a l l t h e r e s i d e n t s of t h e h o t e l .  I t i s important t o  r e a l i z e t h a t almost a l l o f these c h a r a c t e r s , though they d e f i n i t e l y e x i s t as separate  3  doubted),  are nevertheless  personal h i s t o r y .  b e i n g s (which some c r i t i c s have c l o s e l y r e l a t e d t o Theodora by  They may be regarded as a l t e r ego  74 f i g u r e s , specimens of what she may  be or of what she  become—or, i n the case of Katiria, what she was. mostly sensitive people who  may  They are  have been subjected to  experiences of enormous f r u s t r a t i o n , disillusionment, t e r r i b l e violence, or fear, and, l i k e Theodora, they f e e l alienated from the world and i n need of communication. (Thus they a l l pounce on Theodora as soon as they can, to see what comfort or sympathy she can offer them.)  And i n  her contact with them, Theodora finds much with which she i s f a m i l i a r , from her own experiences of f r u s t r a t i o n and alienation: The Demoiselles Bloch giggled, for many past crackers l e t o f f under the v i s i t o r ' s c h a i r . But Theodora was less perplexed than thoughtful. In this landscape a f a m i l i a r r a i n descended on to the palms and crossword puzzles. Somewhere i n the i n t e r i o r , springs groaned for Sunday afternoon, (p.153) Theodora sat. Confident her i n t u i t i o n would i d e n t i f y , she waited for L i e s e l o t t e to appear. As she had suspected, L i e s e l o t t e was a snowdrop, quivering but green veined. Depravity had tortured the o r i g i n a l wax . . . . (p.174) "There i s no denying that I am an a r t i s t . " "Or an old clown," said Theodora, who knew by revelation the way that Alyosha Sergei could somersault through a house, and how she was t i r e d walking up and down, emptying his f u l l ashtrays, and mopping up the l i t t l e damp patches where h i s thought dripped, (p.177) She i s even able--as i s hinted i n the last quotation--to forget herself imaginatively into the former l i v e s of these people, especially Mrs Rapallo, Katina and Sokolnikov.  75 In her f i r s t day of meeting these three she has elaborate day-dreams i n which she sees and participates i n their histories.  There are, by my count, fourteen passages i n  these three chapters i n which, without warning i n the text or  format, Theodora i s suddenly l i v i n g i n a world projected  by her imagination and experience, from the stimulus of some act  or remark of one of the three. The fact that Theodora has day-dreams, does not i n  i t s e l f show that she i s losing her hold on " r e a l i t y " , u n t i l we r e a l i s e what White i s presenting through these fantasy projections.  B r i e f l y , they are a means of rendering  Theodora's conception of the inner r e a l i t i e s behind the outer presentation which the characters give of themselves and their h i s t o r i e s . the  They are epiphanal experiences i n which  meaning, for Theodora, of these people i s experienced  in her imaginary construction of their s t o r i e s .  Thus, when  she f i r s t sees Katina, she perceives, even without having spoken to her, that she i s a c h i l d of innocence who has not yet  consciously confronted the alienating world;  yearns to save the c h i l d from t h i s f a t e .  and she  White renders a l l  t h i s by a day-dream, sparked off by Katina's mentioning to her governess, her memory of an earthquake.  Theodora  imagines herself as Katina's governess, protecting her by love from the world of tragedies, shielding her innocence: In the sun, Katina herself was a small round white f l i n t . That I could pick up and f l i n g , wrapped i n my love, Theodora f e l t , into the deathless, breathless sea. (p. 149-50) "Come," they c a l l e d . "Run. It i s the w i l l of God. The earth i s going to s p l i t open and swallow  76 the houses of the poor." She takes the c h i l d to the beach. They were thrown out, a l l of them, out of the functionle houses on to the l i t t l e s t r i p of sand. Their bodies lay on the l i v e earth. They could f e e l i t s heart move against their own. Theodora held the body of the c h i l d . She f e l t the moment of death and l i f e . (p.150-51) The day-dream i s interrupted by the g i r l conversing with her actual governess, u n t i l the words "I shall die" set Theodora off  again on a brief conclusion to her fantasy.  Then she  returns to the phenomenal world when a cloud which she i s imagining becomes Katina's handkerchief i n the path.  The  relationship which subsequently develops between the two women actualizes the roles of innocent and protectress, established i n t h i s h a l f - i n t u i t i v e , half-prophetic fantasy. Theodora's consciousness of Katina i s absolutely selective according to her perception of innocence endangered as the central r e a l i t y of Katina's existence. At no time i n Part Two  i s she aware of anything r e l a t i n g to Katina, except what  i s s t r i c t l y relevant to t h i s perception. In  similar ways, Theodora perceives the underlying  r e a l i t y , as she conceives i t , of Mrs Rapallo and General Sokolnikov.  In each case she discovers the same desperate  sadness and disillusionment with which she herself i s familiar beneath the affected e x t e r i o r .  But although she finds them  similar to herself i n this respect, she i s shown to progress beyond the range of t h e i r companionship, through her penet r a t i o n of their facades;  i n the a f f a i r of the nautilus  s h e l l , she sees the emptiness and affectation with which they f i n a l l y manage to deceive themselves.  "It i s not surprising  77 at a l l , Alyosha Sergei," she says of the s h e l l (p.223). He, on the other hand, finds i t " f a n t a s t i c " and stands, holding i t i n his hands, transported back to childhood (p.224).  Then Mrs Rapallo a r r i v e s , desperate for her s h e l l :  "I shall have my s h e l l , " she said, "General Sokolnikov, i t i s a l l I have got." (p.225) When they struggle for the s h e l l , and smash i t i n the passage, they depart i n m o r t i f i c a t i o n , leaving Theodora to contemplate "the slight white rime" i n the carpet.  By her recognition  of their c h i l d i s h reliance on an empty and useless symbol of beauty and perfection (pp. 163-164), she passes beyond their l e v e l of consciousness, into a deeper i s o l a t i o n .  We  are told that "Theodora herself f e l t considerably reduced" (p.225). In the last two chapters of Part Two, Theodora, having lost a l l hope of establishing a meaningful sense of community, focusses her interest almost exclusively on Katina.  Since  the l a t t e r , at the beginning of Chapter Ten, i s s t i l l naive and innocent, her protection represents for Theodora the last p o s s i b i l i t y for meaningful involvement i n the wasteland world, but i t i s not an involvement which w i l l integrate Theodora i n the human community.  Rather, i t i s an act of  wish-fulfilment, l i k e a dream, i n which she reveals her desire not to have to suffer the anguish which she i s s u f f e r i n g . In attempting to protect Katina, Theodora i s i n effect dramatising her agony--her yearning that the b i t t e r cup of l i f e might pass.  She wishes that she could have remained  i n the innocence of childhood, instead of becoming, through her l u c i d consciousness and her honesty, one of the "burnt ones."  78 Apart from the p o s s i b i l i t y of the at Mrs  saving  Katina,  o n l y o t h e r c i r c u m s t a n c e s of which Theodora i s this  stage,  Rapallo.  are the confessions (Admittedly i t i s  of  Sokolnikov  curious  that  almost aware,  and  something  a p p a r e n t l y m o t i v a t e d her t o v i s i t Mrs R a p a l l o i n her [ p . 2 5 4 ] a n d , i n t h e a b s e n c e o f an e x p l a n a t i o n , t h i s to  be a s l i g h t w e a k n e s s i n c h a r a c t e r d e v e l o p m e n t ;  is  t h e o n l y one o f t h i s k i n d , and i t  of the p l o t , b r i n g i n g time.)  o r when i t i s n e c e s s a r y  the  as  s p e a k s o n l y when s p o k e n  I may have  suggested,  sake  to,  the-fire. of  b u t t h e i m a g e s w h i c h now make  d e c a y " t h e b o d i e s o f dead f l i e s "  (pp.  of death  are and  227 and 2 3 3 ) , w o r d s  ( p . 2 5 4 ) , " t h e sodden f a c e s o f o l d l e t t e r s  and t h e y e l l o w s m i l e s o f p h o t o g r a p h s " F o r K a t i n a however,  (p.256).  Theodora has a c o n c e r n , a t  s t a r t of Chapter Ten, which i s  the  i n t e n s e and d o m i n a t i n g .  Katina alone, her imagination s t i l l of appearances  from  t r i c k l e of t h i s area of consciousness  as b i s c u i t s "  it  a b s o l u t e l y unaware  s i g n i f i c a n t l y n a r r o w e d down t o i m p r e s s i o n s  "stiff  but  i n c l u d e d f o r the  t o e a t , o r to escape  t r i v i a of her environment,  up t h e l i t t l e  appears  t h e two women t o g e t h e r a t an i m p o r t a n t  For the r e s t , Theodora  She i s n o t ,  is  room  r i s e s out of  to p r o j e c t the f a n t a s i e s of  For  the world  truth:  Now K a t i n a P a v l o u w a l k e d w i t h o u t d i r e c t i o n . H e r e y e s were d a r k . She had w r i t t e n , T h e o d o r a knew, i n t h e b l u e c a h i e r t h a t she h a d b o u g h t f r o m t h e p a p e t e r i e b e s i d e t h e p o s t o f f i c e , she had most c e r t a i n l y w r i t t e n :  '  Your v o i c e i s the f i r s t v e l v e t v i o l i n t h a t my h e a r t b e a t s a g a i n s t i n so much s a d n e s s w r a p p e d w a i t i n g f o r y o u my l o v e t o t a k e , ( p . 2 2 7 )  She l i s t e n s t o K a t i n a ' s  conversations  and s e n s e s t h e  growth  79 of a d i s t u r b i n g consciousness  w i t h i n the g i r l .  So she  tries  t o communicate w i t h h e r : [ K a t i n a l t u r n e d h e r f a c e a g a i n s t t h e g l a s s , and t h e n , u n a c c o u n t a b l y , began t o c r y . F o r K a t i n a P a v l o u had become t h e amazed and f r i g h t e n e d i n s t r u m e n t r e c o r d i n g some c l i m a t i c d i s t u r b a n c e , s t i l l t o o sudden t o a c c e p t or understand. " D e a r e s t K a t i n a , " T h e o d o r a s a i d , " i t w o u l d be e a s i e r i f you would t e l l . " "It is nothing," cried Katina. The windows o f t h e l i t t l e w i n t e r g a r d e n , b l u r r e d by t h e a c t i o n o f t h e s a l t a i r , d i d n o t d i s c l o s e . T h e r e was no g u i d e . (p.232-233) She f e e l s t h a t " t h e p i c n i c w i l l  disclose"  p r o b l e m t o h e r ( p . 2 3 3 ) and she d i s c o v e r s the g i r l  is  i n f a t u a t e d w i t h Wetherby.  b i l i t y of Wetherby's  Katina's  particular  at the p i c n i c  She  that  senses the i n e v i t a -  corruptive intention:  I t was n e c e s s a r y t h a t K a t i n a P a v l o u s h o u l d d i s c o v e r fire. And T h e o d o r a Goodman, w a t c h i n g t h e c h a r a d e move w i t h a l l t h e h o p e s and h e s i t a t i o n s o f t h e human m e c h a n i s m , knew t h a t b e c a u s e she l o v e d and p i t i e d , t h e h u m i l i a t i o n and t h e p a i n w e r e a l s o n e c e s s a r i l y h e r s . (p.238) A t t h e end o f C h a p t e r T e n , K a t i n a i s j o y o f young herself  l o v e , and l o o k s  had l o o k e d o u t ,  f i l l e d w i t h the  out t o A f r i c a ,  i n her youth,  as  to the  transitory  Theodora  Abyssinian  Meroe: She f e l t K a t i n a P a v l o u , who was h e a v y and warm w i t h some i n n e r p e r f e c t i o n o f h e r own. But p e r f e c t i o n , a l a s , i s b r e a k a b l e , whether i t i s m a r b l e , or t e r r a c o t t a , o r t h e more f r a g i l e g r o u p s o f human s t a t u a r y . "How f a r i s A f r i c a , do y o u s u p p o s e ? " K a t i n a P a v l o u asked. "Far  enough,"  T h e o d o r a Goodman s a i d .  I n C h a p t e r E l e v e n comes T h e o d o r a ' s  final  m e n t , f o l l o w e d by t h e d e s t r u c t i o n o f t h e h o t e l .  (p.242) disillusionObsessed  80 with her need to protect Katina from Wetherby, she t r i e s to shock him into a moral awareness of h i s selfishness, t e l l i n g him, "You w i l l love your obsession. of mirrors.  You w i l l love the faces  You w i l l love your own anxiety" (p.245). But  he i s not deterred, and he announces his intention of taking Katina to the tower, much to Theodora's d i s t r e s s : Theodora herself had never been as f a r as the tower, but she suspected i t . Especially now. She suspected the dark smell of damp stone and possibly a dead b i r d . She loathed the folded body of the dead b i r d , and the maggots i n i t s eyes. Disgust knotted her hands. (p.246) Sokolnikov warns her that her protection i s useless, f o r , as he says, "you can also create the i l l u s i o n of other  people,  but once created, they choose their own r e a l i t i e s " (p.250). But she rushes, anyway, hatless to the tower, which by now "would have f i l l e d with mist, and the i n t o l e r a b l e , pervasive smell of crushed nettles" (p.251).  When she finds Katina,  she r e a l i s e s that innocence cannot be protected from the harshness of existence: "Have you ever been inside the tower, Miss Goodman?" Katina Pavlou asked. And now Theodora f e l t inside her hand the hand coming a l i v e . She f e l t the impervious l i p s of stone forming cold words. She dreaded, i n a n t i c i p a t i o n , the scream of n e t t l e s . "No," said Theodora, "I have not been inside the tower. I imagine there i s very l i t t l e to see." "There i s nothing, nothing," Katina s a i d . "There i s a smell of rot and emptiness." But no less painful i n i t s emptiness, Theodora f e l t . " S t i l l I am glad," said Katina Pavlou, speaking through her white face. "You know, Miss Goodman, when one i s glad for something that has happened, something nauseating and p a i n f u l , that one did not suspect. It i s better f i n a l l y to know. (p.253)  81  In the f i n a l scene of P a r t Two,  a f t e r the b u r n i n g  the h o t e l , Theodora and K a t i n a express of d i s i l l u s i o n e d a l i e n a t i o n from the  of  t h e i r common s t a t e  world:  " I s h a l l go away," K a t i n a P a v l o u s a i d , t o u c h i n g bones i n Theodora's hand. " I s h a l l go t o my own country. Now I know. I s h a l l go."  the  "And what s h a l l you do, M i s s Goodman?" K a t i n a Pavlou shivered. "I? I s h a l l go now," Theodora s a i d . " I s h a l l go too." She touched the smooth, c o l d s k i n of a l e a f of a l o e . "Where?" K a t i n a P a v l o u asked. " I have not thought y e t . " " I may even r e t u r n t o A b y s s i n i a , " Theodora s a i d , (pp. 264-265) At the end of P a r t One,  Theodora d e c i d e d  to l e a v e  her  A u s t r a l i a n environment to t e s t the p o s s i b i l i t y of d i s c o v e r i n g e l s e w h e r e , some k i n d of s a t i s f a c t i o n or peace f o r her consciousness.  I n P a r t Two  she has a l r e a d y searched  anguished through  the home-lands of European c u l t u r e , and they have f a i l e d i n these f i v e c h a p t e r s  she l i v e s out her l a s t hopes of  finding  s a t i s f a c t i o n through r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h p e o p l e much l i k e i n t h e i r experiences enabled  hex  of l i f e .  We have seen how  her; her  the hope which  i n i t i a l l y to i n v o l v e h e r s e l f through fantasy  i n the l i v e s of o t h e r s , has been p r o g r e s s i v e l y dampened, as r e v e a l e d t h r o u g h the n a r r o w i n g  f o c u s of her  consciousness.  W i t h the s h a t t e r i n g of her i l l u s o r y hopes f o r K a t i n a she has nowhere t o t u r n - - a t l e a s t , t h a t i s , i f we  now  t a k e Europe  and the H $ t e l du M i d i as r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of the whole w o r l d o u t s i d e A u s t r a l i a , as indeed cosmopolitan  guest l i s t  the name of the h o t e l and i t s  suggest.  82 In P a r t Three, Theodora's start,  consciousness  and a b s o l u t e l y  read that " i n  is  extremely e g o c e n t r i c at  so by t h e e n d .  Theodora  (p.269).  In  s p i t e of  versation,  sense of c o n v e n t i o n a l o b l i g a t i o n  him.  Indeed,  Theodora which  simply cannot  a t t e m p t s t o engage h e r i n  bring herself  in i t .  t o s a y a word  The o n l y  response,  still  i n s p i t e of the d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t  that  beyond a b a r e  a r e t h o s e w i t h Z a c k and H o l s t i u s - - t h e  i n whom h e r r e c o g n i t i o n o f k i n s h i p r  one a boy  evokes  a  slight  over K a t i n a ,  t h e o t h e r a f i g u r e p r o j e c t e d by h e r own i m a g i n a t i o n , w i t h whom h e r c o n v e r s a t i o n s  she h a r d l y a d d r e s s e s a g r a t u i t o u s  o n c e t o say  something  about H o l s t i u s ,  and  word,  and o n c e t o  To  except  enquire  (pp.296, 297).  Her u n w i l l i n g n e s s  t o speak  is  a negative  indication  of her withdrawal i n t o the world of p r i v a t e r e a l i t y . technical  skill  r e n d e r i n g of  enables  him, however,  c a r e f u l l y as a s p e c t s  w h i c h he has  of her f i n a l  state.  the c r e a t i o n of the H o l s t i u s  attempted to render Theodora's section,  to give  through  either  b u i l t up This  figure.  consciousness  White  a positive  t h i s withdrawal without compromising  the s o l i t u d e or the p a s s i v i t y  mode i s  and  are t h e r e f o r e s o l i p s i s t i c .  Mrs Johnson  about Zack  to  conversations  she i n i t i a t e s o r i n any way s u s t a i n s  minimum,  conto  the s t r i k i n g f a c t about P a r t Three i s  s a y s so l i t t l e  and  her  anxious  and h e r  we  Goodman  fellow-traveller's  she  the  she had r e t r e a t e d i n t o h e r own d i s t a n c e  i n t e n d t o come o u t "  respond,  of  On t h e f i r s t p a g e ,  s p i t e of o u t e r appearances,  suggested that d i d not  t h e r e f o r e , we f i n d t h a t t h e r a n g e  so  positive To  have  in this  a d i r e c t stream-of-consciousness  final  technique  83  would n o t o n l y have d e s t r o y e d  the e f f e c t  of p a s s i v i t y ,  but  w o u l d h a v e added t o an a l r e a d y d e m a n d i n g n o v e l , a f i n a l of wearying,  mental j u n g l e - - a  conventional  term.  White i s her  stream of  But i n d e v e l o p i n g  s t a t e of mind d i r e c t l y  the H o l s t i u s  and d r a m a t i c a l l y , y e t  In her c o n v e r s a t i o n s initiative  figure, expressing  without  c o m m u n i c a t i o n and i n t e r a c t i o n .  with Holstius,  and he a l o n e u n d e r s t a n d  companionship  reveals,  the  t o be m o t i v a t e d i n some way t o r e t u r n f r o m h e r  i s o l a t i o n to a w o r l d of apparent  her  takes  her p o s i t i o n .  final,  She  and i n d o i n g  solipsistic  the  so  that  (p.292);  accepts she  state.  as a b e i n g a t l e a s t as r e a l as her  R a p a l l o and o t h e r s  and r e a l i s e s  he a l w a y s  and u n d e r s t a n d i n g ,  to the reader,  accepts Holstius and M r s  in  a b l e t o p r o v i d e T h e o d o r a w i t h a means o f  appearing  his  "madness",  patch  She  father,  t h e r e a d e r knows " b e t t e r "  she h a s no c o m m u n i c a t i o n ,  except  with  herself. P a r t One o f The A u n t ' s its  own.  parts,  By e x p a n d i n g  i n t h e ways we h a v e  d e p t h and i m p o r t a n c e . is  this  just  story  into i t s  second  her n i e c e ' s  The T h e o d o r a  aunt.  and  White's  technique of d e v e l o p i n g  her  o f P a r t s Two  t o g i v e her c o n s i d e r a b l e magnitude. the s i g n i f i c a n c e of  of  a t t h e end o f P a r t  The e f f e c t  She  on  third  seen, White created a n o v e l  some o f  their  forms a complete s t o r y  t h e sad and l o n e l y f i g u r e o f a s p i n s t e r ,  daughter, Three i s  Story  One  father's and  acquires  an a r c h e t y p a l human f i g u r e .  i n t e r - r e l a t i o n producesca  the three p a r t s  is  such t h a t  l i n g e r i n g on o f e c h o e s  of  3 increasing  significance.  i n thought  and memory t o i t s o v e r a l l e f f e c t ,  Theodora--which  Sidney  When we c l o s e t h e b o o k ,  N o l a n has  and  t h e image  s u g g e s t e d so w e l l  in  respond of his  84 c o v e r p a i n t i n g - - f i l l s t h e mind w i t h a p o w e r f u l  sense of t h e  d i g n i t y w h i c h man can a t t a i n i n t h e f a c e o f a n g u i s h , a sense of g r e a t a d m i r a t i o n f o r Theodora's triumph a g a i n s t  "rivers  of f i r e , " i n f u l f i l m e n t o f her p e r s o n a l d e s t i n y , w i t h h u m i l i t y . No g i r l t h a t was thrown down by l i g h t n i n g on her t w e l f t h b i r t h d a y , and then got up a g a i n , i s g o i n g to be swallowed easy by r i v e r s o f f i r e . (p.45) White has made a p o w e r f u l a s s e r t i o n o f t h e power o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l t o m a i n t a i n a c o n s c i o u s i n t e g r i t y i n s p i t e of t h e destructive f i r e s of;the world.  I n t h i s achievement, t h e  p a r t - s t r u c t u r e i s the a l l - i m p o r t a n t t e c h n i q u e . Of t h e many secondary t e c h n i q u e s two  i n The Aunt's S t o r y ,  stand out as s p e c i a l l y e f f e c t i v e , as i n t h e p r e v i o u s  novel;  t h e use o f r e c u r r e n t m o t i f s t o render c e r t a i n  concepts  which a r e b a s i c t o White's v i s i o n , and the c r e a t i o n o f r h y t h m i c p a t t e r n , e s p e c i a l l y i n t h e r e c u r r e n c e of embryonic Theodora-figures. The main p o i n t about t h e h a n d l i n g o f m o t i f s , i n t h i s and  subsequent n o v e l s , has a l r e a d y been s t a t e d :  Certain  c e n t r a l m o t i f s a r e used more e m p h a t i c a l l y than b e f o r e , and they t h e r e f o r e become a more p o w e r f u l means o f communication. P a r t o f t h e emphasis i s a c h i e v e d  through  a reduction i n the  number o f secondary m o t i f s , and thus o f the web o f minor impressions.  The advantage gained p r o b a b l y j u s t i f i e s  this  pruning. The  emphatic s i g n i f i c a n c e g i v e n t o t h e c e n t r a l m o t i f s ,  and t h e i r c a p a c i t y f o r r e n d e r i n g e s s e n t i a l s o f White's v i s i o n can be observed m o t i f o f bones.  through  a b r i e f c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the  A consciousness  of bones beneath t h e o u t e r  85 f l e s h i s early established i n the novel as a symbol for the apprehension of truth beneath the outer appearance: Theodora i s attracted to the black h i l l s of Meroe, because There are certain landscapes i n which you can see the bones of the earth. And t h i s was one. You could touch your own bones, which i s to come a l i t t l e closer to t r u t h . (p.61) The nature of the motif i s , then, d i r e c t l y established i n t h i s passage, though we may already have noted i t i n operation earlier: And Lou came and sat beside her. Lou did not speak, but she could f e e l very p o s i t i v e l y the thin bone of an arm pressed close against her waist, (p.13) "Did Granny Goodman want to die?" asked Lou. And again Theodora could f e e l the thin bone of an arm pressed close against her waist, (p.17) Certainly we should be well aware of i t s meaning, after the occurrence on page 61. We understand that Charlie King i s being contrasted to Theodora when his hands are described as boneless: By t h i s time i t was "The Blue Danube" that Charlie King always played. His hands rippled l i k e a pair of k i d gloves. They had no bones. Pouring the suave water that Fanny's t u l l e skirt caught, (p.77) Likewise, the motif establishes a sense of community between Theodora and Mora'itis: "Bare," smiled M o r a i t i s , for a fresh discovery. "Greece, you see, i s a bare country. It i s a l l bones." "Like Meroe," said Theodora. "Please?" said M o r a i t i s . "I too come from a country of bones." "That i s good," said Moraitis solemnly. "It i s easier to see." (p.112)  86 " G o o d - b y e , M i s s Goodman," s a i d M o r a ' i t i s . "I s h a l l remember we a r e c o m p a t r i o t s i n t h e c o u n t r y o f t h e bones, (p.113) In  a l a t e r r e c u r r e n c e , the m o t i f i s used  development of consciousness  in Katina.  to i n d i c a t e the A f t e r her f a l l  from  i n n o c e n c e , and f o l l o w i n g t h e p a s s a g e a l r e a d y q u o t e d i n w h i c h Katina asserts painful  that " i t i s  aspects of  life,  b e t t e r f i n a l l y t o know" a b o u t  Theodora  s e e s a change  in  the  her:  Under t h e s t i l l s k i n of K a t i n a P a v l o u s f a c e t h e b l o o d had n o t y e t begun a g a i n t o f l o w . Since yesterday, T h e o d o r a saw, t h e bones had some. (p.253) 1  Much more c o u l d be s a i d , but t h e p o i n t , The m o t i f r e c u r s a t many k e y p o i n t s as a p r e d i c a t a b l e l a b e l , n e s s o f t h e ambiguous  I think,  story,  it  conscious-  nature of r e a l i t y . is a well  handled  By r e p e t i t i o n , i t  o f u n i v e r s a l i t y and p e r p e t u i t y t o  and i n t h i s r e s p e c t  structure;  just  b u t as a means o f r e n d e r i n g  f u n c t i o n i n g i n two c h i e f w a y s :  adds a s u g g e s t i o n  made.  i n the n o v e l , not  The r e c u r r e n c e o f t h e T h e o d o r a - f i g u r e s device,  is  i t i s part of  Theodora's  the o v e r l l ,  rhythmic  and by t h e v a r i a t i o n s w h i c h accompany t h e r e p e t i t i o n ,  reveals Theodora's  own d e v e l o p m e n t i n e a c h p a r t o f  the  novel. What children,  I have c a l l e d t h e T h e o d o r a - f i g u r e s among t h e a c q u a i n t a n c e s  are the  of her a d u l t l i f e ,  three with  whom she f e e l s " t h e t r i u m p h o f t h e r a r e a l l i a n c e s " ( p . 2 8 3 ) . This  s e n s e o f a l l i a n c e has  her l i f e . Given his  been a r e c u r r e n t e x p e r i e n c e o f  T h e r e was h e r f a t h e r , M o r a ' i t i s , Dinner,  and t h e b e g i n n i n g  and o t h e r s - - b u t of her quest,  t h e Man who was  a f t e r her mother's  i t is  death,  an e x p e r i e n c e e s p e c i a l l y  87 r e l a t e d to the three c h i l d r e n . herself of  a s she w a s - - a n  life.  We h a v e  I n t h e m , she s e e s images  innocent, questioning  the mysteries  seen a l r e a d y h o w , ' i n c h i l d h o o d ,  " w a n t e d t o know e v e r y t h i n g . "  of  Theodora  I n P a r t One, Lous i s  similarly  presented: "I w i s h . . . " s a i d L o u . "What do y o u w i s h ? " "I w i s h I was y o u , A u n t T h e o . " And now T h e o d o r a a s k e d why. " B e c a u s e y o u know t h i n g s , " s a i d L o u . "Such as?" " O h , " she s a i d , " t h i n g s . " Her e y e s w e r e f i x e d i n w a r d l y o n what she c o u l d n o t e x p r e s s , (p.136) And K a t i n a , who, on t h e i r f i r s t m e e t i n g , " q u e s t i o n e d in  silence"  recognises  (p.152), i s c l e a r l y o f t h e same k i n d . Katina's  k i n s h i p w i t h L o u , and s p e a k s  " i n t h e a c c e n t s o f an a u n t " t h e s t a g n a t i o n o f h e r home  (p.184).  Theodora  Theodora to her  Katina t e l l s her of  environment:  " P a p a was a c o l o n e l o n c e . Now t h e y l i v e i n h o t e l s . T h e y f o l l o w t h e s e a s o n , and P a p a p l a y s b r i d g e . " (p.186) And T h e o d o r a  sees i t :  " C e s t r i d i c u l e de c r o i r e . " s a i d t h e v o i c e o f t h e a s t r i n g e n t l o t i o n , " q u ' o n s ' a m u s e r a a D e a u v i l l e ou a Aix." " M a i s a l o r s , " s a i d t h e C o l o n e l , t h r o w i n g down t h e c a r d p r e p a r a t o r y t o p i c k i n g i t up a g a i n , " A l l o n s a Baden B a d e n . " In a n t i t h e s i s t o the concept of "s'amuser",  and t h e i m p l i -  c a t i o n s o f s u p e r f i c i a l i t y i n Baden Baden, K a t i n a s a y s she "would l i k e Congo"  t o m a r r y a s c i e n t i s t , and s a i l w i t h h i m up t h e  (p.185), t o p e n e t r a t e t h e d a r k n e s s  instead of b l i n d i n g herself  t o them.  of l i f e ' s  mysteries,  88 Zack, though much younger than Lou o r K a t i n a , and though he appears o n l y m o m e n t a r i l y a t t h e end, i s a l s o a p e r c e p t i v e , q u e s t i o n i n g p e r s o n , w i t h whom Theodora  recognises  kinship. "And your name i s what?" she asked. "Zack," he s a i d f i r m l y , as i f i t c o u l d n o t have been anything e l s e . She c o u l d n o t read him, but she knew him. "Are you v i s i t i n g w i t h u s ? " he asked. Because she was b l a n k , he added, "Are you going t o be here some t i m e ? " "No," she s a i d . She shook h e r head, but i t was t h e f i n a l i t y o f sadness. "Why?" he asked. "You w i l l know i n t i m e , " she s a i d , " t h a t i t i s not p o s s i b l e t o s t a y . " He looked a t her q u e e r l y . . . . (p.282) I n these t h r e e f i g u r e s , then, Theodora  recognises  p e o p l e l i k e h e r s e l f , whom she can u n d e r s t a n d t o some e x t e n t , and t r y t o p r o t e c t . rendered  When she l e a v e s Zack t h e k i n s h i p i s  w i t h p a t h o s , i n a d e l i c a t e , l a s t image:  Zack came and looked a t h e r . Now he was v e r y c l o s e . "You don't want t o s t a y w i t h u s , " he s a i d , l o o k i n g at h e r s t r a i g h t . She was c l o s e t o h i s f r i n g e d eyes, which had approached t i l l h i s forehead touched h e r s , and she c o u l d f e e l t h e s o f t q u e s t i o n i n g o f t h e l a s h e s of h i s eyes. "Oh Zack," she s a i d , "you must n o t make i t d i f f i cult." (p.288) The  recurrence of the f i g u r e s i n v o l v e s  important  v a r i a t i o n s , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n r e s p e c t o f Theodora's a t t i t u d e towards them.  At t h e end o f P a r t One, she approaches her  s e p a r a t i o n from Lou, w i t h a f a t a l i s t i c r e c o g n i t i o n o f t h e f a c t of human i s o l a t i o n :  89 T h e o d o r a l o o k e d down t h r o u g h t h e d i s t a n c e s t h a t s e p a r a t e , even i n l o v e . I f I c o u l d p u t o u t my h a n d , she s a i d , b u t I c a n n o t . And a l r e a d y t h e moment, t h e moments, t h e d i s a p p e a r i n g a f t e r n o o n , had i n c r e a s e d t h e distance that separates. T h e r e i s no l i f e l i n e t o other l i v e s , (p.137) Fatalist so,  for  gesture  though she  she  still  is,  in this  c l o s e and d i s t a n t "  136).  "a  totally  formal  Their relationship  is  (p.129), f o r t h o u g h h e r c l o s e n e s s  create a " l i f e l i n e "  the "pressue"  she i s n o t  h a s h e r arm r o u n d t h e c h i l d ,  of p r o t e c t i o n " (p.  i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of  respect,  to the c h i l d ,  some k i n d .  She  o f h e r body and " h e r  h e r own" (p.136).  In  leaving her,  i t remains  s i t s w i t h L o u and b r e a t h t h a t was she l e a v e s  of l i f e  do n o t open up t o t h e k i n d o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g  desires  t o have  for the  girl.  I n P a r t Two, T h e o d o r a  begins  feels  a warning  by t e l l i n g h e r t h a t t h e  i s her l a s t  mysteries  act of  that  ceased.  her r e l a t i o n s h i p  a s we h a v e becomes  seen:  with  protection  The p r o t e c t i n g arm a r o u n d L o u ' s  (p.151).  But a f t e r K a t i n a ' s  i n the tower, Theodora's  changes.  She c e a s e s  assistance. we may say  waist  baptism i n t o  a t t i t u d e to her  t o make g e s t u r e s  t h a t the tower episode  She h e r s e l f  the  adult-  protege'e  of p r o t e c t i o n or  Inasmuch as K a t i n a r e p r e s e n t s  i s no r e t r e a t t o i n n o c e n c e vision.  in  t h e arm p r o t e c t i n g K a t i n a f r o m t h e v i o l e n c e o f  earthquake hood,  H e r f i r s t i m p u l s e , i s one o f  Lou  protection  K a t i n a a t t h e p o i n t where h e r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h L o u , P a r t One,  of  almost  disillusionment,  This  cannot  a closeness  against  (p.137).  "both  Theodora's  shows T h e o d o r a t h a t  from the r e a l i t y of her  cannot r e t u r n to innocence,  youth, there  mature  and  Katina  90 cannot stay there.  Protection i s useless.  When the hotel  burns we get an image of Katina which s i g n i f i e s her own development and also the r e a l i z a t i o n s which Theodora has attained: They were watching Katina Pavlou walk out of the burning house. She walked with her hands outstretched, protecting herself with her hands, not so much from substance, as some other f i r e . She could not yet accept the faces. As i f these had read a reported incident, of which, she knew, the d e t a i l s had been inevitably f a l s i f i e d . But Katina Pavlou had seen the face of f i r e . (p.263) So, by the end of Part Two, Theodora and Katina are equals, i n that both have been burnt by the f i r e s of the world.  Or,  more accurately, Katina has reached the f i r s t stage of maturity, Theodora's stage at the end of Part One. For she s t i l l hopes that a change of environment w i l l a l t e r essential conditions. Theodora envisages the process of Katina's departure, i n search of her "own country": Already from her corner [of the t r a i n ] , Katina Pavlou watched the slow smoke r i s e from x^hite houses and s l e e p i l y finger the dawn. She sat upright, to a r r i v e , to recover the lost r e a l i t y of childhood. Her eyes were strained by sleeplessness. "Yes, Katina," Theodora s a i d . There was no reason to suppose that this was not the sequence of events. (p.264) Thus, through Lou and Katina, Theodora re-experiences the stages of her own development. a second stage of maturity.  She herself has reached  She i s , at the end of Part Two,  bereft of hope, and she i s so weary and resigned to the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of the "sequence of events," that she cannot even offer Katina the dubious comfort of physical contact  91 or verbal sympathy.  She had put her arm around Lou and  warned her against d i s i l l u s i o n , but with Katina she i s now completely passive and f a l l s back f i n a l l y on the routine matter of getting to bed, rather than explain her reference to Abyssinia: "You w i l l go where?" Katina Pavlou asked. "Come, Katina, you are almost asleep," Theodora Goodman s a i d . "We must j o i n the others. L i s t e n . They are c a l l i n g us." (p.265) And then when the evolution of the i s o l a t e d , worldweary figure appears to be complete, i r o n i c a l l y , the pattern begins again with Zack.  In him she encounters a stage of  innocence, e a r l i e r than Lou's (which i s i t s e l f e a l i e r than Katina's).  She picks him out from the other children at  f i r s t sight (p.281), and when he talks with her i n the washroom, she feels a "pact" i s born between them (p.283). Their encounter i s l i k e her own childhood encounter with The Man who was Given his Dinner.  Just as, at the end of  that meeting, she knew, with a sense of i n e v i t a b i l i t y , that in  spite of the man's promise, he would not return (p.46),  so now she looks back and sees that Zack has accepted the f i n a l i t y of her departure, "was taking i t for granted" (p.288).  Because he i s s t i l l innocent and u n i n i t i a t e d i n  the world, she can s t i l l bring him some comfort through simple, physical contact, as she could with Lou at the end of Part One, and with Katina at the beginning of Part Two but not at the end.  But the degree of change from Part  One i s now apparent i n that her physical touch i s ambiguous: We are not sure how far the adult i s comforting, and how far she i s being comforted by the memory of childhood and  92  innocence: He had rubbed h i s cheek against her cheek. Their blood flowed together. Her desperate words, o r d i n a r i l y dry, had grown quite suddenly fleshy and r i p e . Their locked hands lay i n s o l i d s i l e n c e . "If I go," she asked, " w i l l you remember me Zack?" (p.288) Thus we see how the recurrence of the Theodora-figures functions to suggest the u n i v e r s a l i t y of Theodora's experience, and to mark her own stages of development.  The progress i n  alienation of the self-conscious, l u c i d figure, of which Theodora i s the type, could be shown schematically i n f i v e stages marked by the Theodora-figures: STAGE I  Zack P t . 3. Theodorai i n early childhood, early Pt. 1.  STAGE II  Lou at end P t . 1. Katina at beginning P t . 2. Theodora at school, middle P t . 1.  STAGE I I I Katina at end P t . 2. Theodora at end Pt. 1. STAGE IV  (Mr Goodman) (Moraitis) (Man who was Given h i s Dinner) Theodora at end P t . 2.  STAGE V  Theodora i n Pt.3.  One dimension of the plot i s simply the interaction of the l i v e s of these various f i g u r e s .  Theodora's progress from  one stage to the next i s emphasized f o r us when she meets people who are behind her;  also, as the pattern becomes  f a m i l i a r to the reader he applies i t r e t r o s p e c t i v e l y , recogn i s i n g , for instance at the end of Part Two, when Theodora  93 i s a t Stage IV, t h a t The Man who was Given h i s Dinner was at Stage IV, when she was a t Stage I . The A u n t s S t o r y 1  t e l l s us o n l y one of t h e many s t o r i e s o f which we have caught c e r t a i n moments as they c r o s s e d Theodora's s t o r y .  The sense  of p e r p e t u i t y o f t h e Theodora s t o r y i s a c h i e v e d w i t h s u b t l e completeness, the l a s t  by h e r meeting  Zack (Stage I ) when she i s a t  stage.  b. THE AUNT'S STORY:  THEME  I t has been n e c e s s a r y t o d w e l l a t such i n o r d i n a t e l e n g t h on t h e t e c h n i q u e s of The Aunt's S t o r y , b e f o r e cons i d e r i n g t h e m a t i c elements p e r s e , because o f t h e n a t u r e o f the themes.  F o r t h e o v e r a l l theme o f t h e n o v e l i s i m p l i c i t  i n t h e major t e c h n i q u e s .  I t i s t h e development of i n d i v i d u a l  c o n s c i o u s n e s s i n t h e w o r l d o f White's v i s i o n , t h e coming t o a f u l l e r and f u l l e r awareness o f t h e c o n d i t i o n s o f d u a l i t y and i s o l a t i o n which a r e t h e p r i m a r y f a c t s o f e x i s t e n c e as White sees i t .  The p a r t - s t r u c t u r e , t h e use o f m o t i f s and  rhythm, and o t h e r t e c h n i q u e s , a r e d e s i g n e d t o render t h e u n f o l d i n g o f t h i s c o n s c i o u s n e s s through e x p e r i e n c e ;  and t h e  n a t u r e o f Theodora's c o n s c i o u s n e s s can o n l y be understood through t h e forms of her e x p e r i e n c e which t h e t e c h n i q u e s represent.  The p a r t - s t r u c t u r e i s i t s e l f a movement towards  i s o l a t i o n and t h i s i s , Theodora's c o n s c i o u s n e s s . p a t t e r n s and t h e rhythms a r e themselves which  The m o t i f -  the o r g a n i c growths •.  stand a p a r t from t h e o b j e c t i v e n a r r a t i v e , and c r e a t e  d u a l i t y i n the n o v e l .  The form o f t h e n o v e l i s t h e form o f  Theodora's c o n s c i o u s n e s s , which i s t h e theme.  We may however  make an attempt t o c o n c e p t u a l i z e t h e t h e m a t i c elements o f  94  d u a l i t y and i s o l a t i o n by following the chain of abstractions which exist i n the novel and which from time to time, give a conceptual d e f i n i t i o n of the nature of Theodora's state of consciousness, as an i n t e l l e c t u a l guide to the nature of the theme which i s being evolved i n the a r t i s t i c technique. Theodora i s increasingly conscious of the duality and i s o l a t i o n which constitutes the state of alienation to which she f i n a l l y a t t a i n s .  The exact nature of this d u a l i t y cannot  be contained i n a pair of opposite terms, such as l i f e and death, fact and fancy, sense and i n t e l l e c t , i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y , though such antitheses are h e l p f u l .  Part of the  nature of duality i s rendered through the complex of motifs: Roses are both beautiful and grub-ridden and Theodora accepts that both aspects are part of the "sum t o t a l " (p.21). There i s the apparent r e a l i t y of Meroe, but there i s also "another Meroe," "a dead place" (p.23).  Existence i s i n two  worlds: She began to f e e l old and oracular l i s t e n i n g to Frank Parrott's voice, as i f she didn't belong. There was t h i s on one side, and l i f e of men keeping sheep and making money, and on the other, herself and Meroe. She was as remote as stone from the figures in the f i r s t landscape of which Frank Parrott spoke. (p.83) It i s a duality which separates those who are aware of i t , from those who are not, as we see i n many instances. In  the duck-shooting episode at the f a i r , the separation i s  conceptually recognised by the "others" who  see that "ever  since Theodora had shot the clay heads off the ducks. . . ,  95 she was separated from them for ever" (p.125).  On the other  hand, for those who have the v i s i o n of d u a l i t y , there i s a communion of i s o l a t i o n , established largely through _the "bone" motif, but also conceptualized i n more objective terminology though r a r e l y : And now Theodora began to think that perhaps the man was a l i t t l e b i t mad, but she loved him for his madness even, for i t made her f e e l warm. (p.45) She smiled the mysterious smile of some-one who reads poetry and shares secrets, and Theodora smiled a l s o , because i t was true. (p.57) This thing which had happened between Moraitis and herself she held close, l i k e a woman holding her b e l l y , (p.117) Consciousness of the mysterious duality at the heart of existence produces, i n Theodora, the personal anguish of uncertainty as to the world of one's "true" i d e n t i t y .  By  talking to her unrecognised self i n the person of H o l s t i u s , Theodora demonstrates that, i n the end, she has accepted her "true" existence i n one of the two worlds;  but up to t h i s  point i n the novel, she i s increasingly uncertain where the r e a l part of herself i s to be found.  She stares at her face  in mirrors, and on one occasion, "she spoke to the face that had now begun to form, i t s bone" (p.51).  She observes i n her  r e f l e c t i o n , "the dark eyes asking the unaswerable questions" (p.52).  She i s often struck by the strangeness of her own  body: Theodora unfolded her hands, which had never known exactly what to do, and least of a l l now. Her hands, she often f e l t , belonged by accident, though what, of course, does not. She looked at them, noticing their strangeness. (p.152)  96 Theodora saw how v e r y awkward at times her own were i n t h e i r t h i c k b l a c k shoes. (p.55) The  theme of anguish  begins  feet  i n the s l i g h t u n c e r t a i n t y  suggested i n the l a s t q u o t a t i o n and r e a c h e s i t s c l i m a x b e f o r e the end of the n o v e l .  Her c o n s c i o u s n e s s  just  of e x i s t e n c e  i n two w o r l d s produces an i n t o l e r a b l e t e n s i o n , and once a g a i n t h e r e are c o n c e p t u a l t e x t : "Ah, i n two"  a i d s to our u n d e r s t a n d i n g ,  given in'the  Theodora Goodman," says H o l s t i u s , "you  (p.293).  are t o r n  And when she asks " i n agony" what she  do or say about t h i s , he r e p l i e s , "1 expect you t o the i f i i e c o n c i l a b l e h a l v e s . "  I n one  can  accept  sense, t h i s i s p r e c i s e l y  what she has been d o i n g ever s i n c e she f i r s t became aware of the d u a l i t y - - " s h e c o u l d not sum  subtract  t o t a l of the garden" (p.21).  the grub  from the  But the acceptance which  her mind i s here u r g i n g upon her through the H o l s t i u s p r o j e c t i o n i s more than mere i n t e l l e c t u a l r e c o g n i t i o n .  She must  r e c o g n i s e the d u a l i t y , but she must r e c o g n i s e a l s o t h a t i t i s an a b s o l u t e c o n d i t i o n of e x i s t e n c e , and  she must t h e r e f o r e  g i v e up her quest f o r some u n d e r l y i n g s y n t h e s i s . a c e r t a i n conventional accuracy, mad  (pp. 73, 271).  And  has i m p l i c i t l y a s s e n t e d she has  has sometimes c a l l e d  t o the d e n i g r a t i o n of the l a b e l , f o r understanding,  o r a new  ment, which w i l l a l l o w her t o be c a l l e d sane.  Now,  a c c e p t i n g the a b s o l u t e f a c t of d u a l i t y , she w i l l to  her  by embarking on her quest Theodora  sought e i t h e r some new  confidence  Fanny, w i t h  environ-  by  fully  achieve  i n the i n t e g r i t y of her p o s i t i o n , and w i l l be  say t o Fanny and o t h e r s ( i n the words of the  able  epigraph),  "When your l i f e i s most r e a l , t o me  you are mad."  As H o l s t i u s  says, i n perhaps the most i m p o r t a n t  c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n of  the  97 theme, You cannot reconcile joy and sorrow. . . . or f l e s h and marble, or i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y , or l i f e and death. For t h i s reason, Theodora Goodman, you must accept. As you have already found that one constantly deludes the other into taking fresh shapes, so that there i s sometimes l i t t l e to choose between the r e a l i t y of i l l u s i o n and the i l l u s i o n of r e a l i t y , (p.293) Theodora's acceptance of this gospel of i n t e g r i t y i s c l e a r l y shown i n the next paragraph, where her situation i s l i k e that of a candidate for r e l i g i o u s confirmation: Resistance had gone out of her as she l a y , her head against the knees of Holstius, receiving peace, whether i t was from his words, and she was not altogether sure that he spoke, or from h i s hands. His hands touched the bones of her head under the damp h a i r . They soothed the wounds. (p.293) The courageous i n t e g r i t y of her f i n a l position i s prefigured e a r l i e r i n the response which she has--and which separates her  from others—to the Jack Frost murders: Theodora continued to see Jack Frost's irreproachable facade, through which Frost himself had f i n a l l y dared to p i t c h the stone. (p.103)  But unlike Frost, who destroyed others i n order to assert his  v i s i o n of r e a l i t y , Theodora i s characterized by her  humility and her desire not to bother anybody.  "You w i l l  submit," says H o l s t i u s . "It i s part of the deference which one pays to those who prescribe the reasonable l i f e . They are admirable people r e a l l y , though l i m i t e d . Theodora nodded her head to each point she must remember. "If we know better," Holstius said, "we must keep i t under our hats." (p.299) In  the humility of these last words, The Aunt's Story  98 o f f e r s us a more p o s i t i v e , human response to the anguish of the consciousness of duality than, for instance, Moby Dick or "The Hollow Men", treated.  i n both of which the problem i s  In M e l v i l l e ' s novel, Ahab affects super-human  pride i n h i s passion to " s t r i k e , strike through the mask" of pasteboard which i s formed by " a l l v i s i b l e objects".^ His i n a b i l i t y to accept the absolute fact of duality leads him to a megalomaniac, epic quest which i s no better f i n a l l y than Eden Standish's "protest of self destruction." i n t e g r i t y i s the i n t e g r i t y of p r i d e .  His  Theodora's humble  mtegrity--which even Voss comes to accept i n the last houri s a nobler a t t i t u d e . And i n E l i o t ' s poem, the duality i s recorded well enou Between the idea And the r e a l i t y Between the motion And the act F a l l s the Shadow. But the f i n a l "whimper" of this poem i s the unresolved angui of man who  lacks the humility, simply to accept the absolute  state of man's "Between"—ness.  Unless our personal  judgment of Theodora i s that she i s ultimately a phoney, we must accept that she i s a more s i g n i f i c a n t human figure than the hollow men,  i n her response to the condition of d u a l i t y .  Another aspect of alienation remains, and t h i s i s the basic i s o l a t i o n of the individual consciousness, whether "mad"  or not.  This theme i s presented, as I have said of  a l l the themes, through technical form--in this case the l i t e r a l i s o l a t i o n of Theodora's consciousness, to a f i n a l state i n which she can communicate only with herself qua Holstius.  But we can also observe i n the text, a number of  conceptual statements of the theme.  99 We should not expect, of course, any s i g n i f i c a n t communication between the two groups of individuals who are  divided from one another by the factor of consciousness  of d u a l i t y .  We do not expect much rapport between, say,  Theodora and Fanny or the Parrotts, and the following incident i s t y p i c a l : "Evenin' Theodora," said Mr.Parrott. "You'll know everybody. Make yourself at home." This also made i t easy for Mr. P a r r o t t . Be dismissed himself, because for the l i f e of him he never knew what to say to Goodman's eldest g i r l . (pp.74-75) But between those of Theodora's kinship (as I have called i t ) we might expect to find sympathy leading to communication.  On the surface, t h i s would appear to be the  case, for we find Theodora establishing a friendship with Violet Adams, The Man who was Given h i s Dinner, Moraitis and others. the  Yet their communication i s such that i t leaves  individual s t i l l e s s e n t i a l l y i s o l a t e d .  The epigraph  to Part One t e l l s us t h i s : She thought of the narrowness of the l i m i t s within which a human eoul may speak and be understood by i t s nearest of mental k i n , of how soon i t reaches that s o l i t a r y land of the individual experience, i n which no fellow f o o t f a l l i s ever heard. George Goodman r e a l i z e s i n the moment of death that "the narrowness of the limits' 1 , i s f i n a l : "And we are close," he said. for us to come any closer." •  •  o  e  "It i s not possible  • e  "In the end," h i s voice said out of the pines, "I did not see i t . " Then Theodora, with her face upon h i s knees, r e a l i z e d that she was touching the body of George Goodman, (p.88)  100 M o r a i t i s , too, "accepted the i s o l a t i o n " (p.115).  As indeed  does Theodora herself: There i s no l i f e l i n e to other l i v e s , (p.137) In the end, her experience of i s o l a t i o n i s so overwhelming that she reaches the state of pure philosophical solipsism in which she doubts the existence of anyone, even of herself and Holstius with whom she has appeared to communicate so positively: Fact corrected expectation. Just as the mind used and disposed of the figments of Mrs Rapallo, and Katina Pavlou, and Sokolnikov. And now H o l s t i u s . She watched the rough texture of his coat for the f i r s t indications of decay. "You suspect me," Holstius s a i d . She spat into the f i r e . She heard the strong hiss of . s p i t t l e . "I suspect myself," Theodora said, feeling with her fingers for the grain i n the table. (p.292) And Theodora's f i n a l state of acceptance, which we have considered i n r e l a t i o n to the condition of d u a l i t y , includes also the fact of i s o l a t i o n .  The last sentence of  the novel presents a f i n a l image of her wearing on her hat the rose--the symbol of her personal existence (p.299)— which "trembled and g l i t t e r e d , leading a l i f e of i t s own."  101 PART 2  THE TREE OF MAN  P a t r i c k W h i t e ' s n e x t n o v e l , The T r e e o f Man, g i v e n r i s e t o a g r e a t d e a l of c r i t i c a l i s worth d i s c u s s i n g of t h i s  thesis:  because  p e r p l e x i t y , which  i t underlines  that White's novels  has  the basic  contention  c a n o n l y be f u l l y  understood  as i n t e r - r e a l t e d p a r t s o f t h e r e n d e r i n g o f  a  consistent  artistic vision.  the  U n t i l we h a v e u n d e r s t o o d  l i n e s of development w i t h i n the works  themselves,  futile,  to t r y to  and i s o f t e n q u i t e c o n f u s i n g ,  i n d i v i d u a l works relations novel.  the works,  of  as  i n terms of p r e c o n c e i v e d c a t e g o r i e s or  and n o t a t  s u p e r f i c i a l resemblances  in  the all  to other  so many c r i t i c s have done i n r e l a t i o n t o The T r e e  Man.  classic  comments on i t p r o v i d e a  i l l u s t r a t i o n for Lawrence's  the t a l e ,  not  the w r i t e r .  t h i s book e v e r y p o s s i b l e  aspect of l i f e ,  trusting  through  White.  the  This  in  lives  extra-  statement, almost i n v a r i a b l y quoted i n c r i t i c i s m  the n o v e l , i s undoubtedly  measure of agreement, i n that c r i t i c i s m . many  a d v i c e about  " I wanted t o t r y t o suggest  an o r d i n a r y man and w o m a n , s a y s  ordinary of  of  look f i r s t at the v i s i o n which informs  The T r e e o f Man and W h i t e ' s  of  seems  understand  to e s t a b l i s h e d genres w i t h i n the h i s t o r y  We must  works,  it  the main cause of the  at a s u p e r f i c i a l l e v e l ,  The f o l l o w i n g q u o t a t i o n i s  large  w h i c h we f i n d t y p i c a l of  judgments: I t i s a l a r g e , generous, complex n o v e l w h i c h , d e s p i t e c e r t a i n weaknesses, does succeed i n g i v i n g a remarkably c o m p r e h e n s i v e p i c t u r e o f t h e l i f e o f a man and h i s family. P a t r i c k White succeeds i n s u g g e s t i n g the  102 u n i v e r s a l i t y of the joys and sorrows of common humanity; and the novel conveys a sense of the rhythm of l i f e , the inevitable pattern of b i r t h , growth and decay.2 And i t i s through this emphasis on u n i v e r s a l i t y , as we f i n d i t i n the reviews of the novel, that i t was recommended to the American p u b l i c , and thus became a best-seller under partly false pretences.  Excerpts from these American  eulogies are on the cover of the English e d i t i o n , and they include such remarks as, A timeless work of art from which no essential element of l i f e has been omitted. (James Stern) A majestic and impressive work of genuine art that digs more deeply into the universal experiences of human l i v i n g than a l l save a few great books. ( O r v i l l e Prescott) More recently however, c r i t i c i s m has revealed a certain uneasiness about these epic, universal pretensions: "I wanted to try to suggest i n this book every possible aspect of l i f e , through the l i v e s of ordinary man and woman." The Tree of Man must be praised for the gallantry of the attempt rather than for the sureness of i t s achievement.3 And even Brissenden noted uneasily, So far as The Tree of Man i s concerned i t may be that White has been praised more for his intentions than for what he actually succeeded i n doing.^ This d i s p a r i t y between the attempt and the achievement i s one of the most frequent c r i t i c i s m s of White.  We have seen  i t already i n r e l a t i o n to The Living and the Dead; and i t had actually been used against The Tree of Man even before the "universal human saga" d e f i n i t i o n was applied and found to  be unrealised.  In 1957, A.D.Hope, i n one of his denigrations  103 of the book, described i t as an unsuccessful attempt to write within the frontier-novel t r a d i t i o n or genre.  White,  he said, had been "unable to r e s i s t the pattern that seems imposed on Australian f i c t i o n " and yet had f a i l e d to make " a l l the cliches of Australian f i c t i o n " relevant to his theme.  Subsequent writers have denied Hope's primary  assumption that the novel i s a celebration of pioneering, but they i n turn have f a i l e d to provide a satisfactory alternative view. The course of perplexity i s undoubtedly the characteri z a t i o n of Stan, and to a lesser extent Amy.  Those who  have t r i e d to reconcile the strange rendering of consciousness with the unexceptional narrative framework of the novel have been unable to do so, and have therefore tended to overlook the rendering of consciousness, as the unsatisfactory part of an otherwise good book.  Buckley, who  considers i t  "White's finest work," summarily dismisses the central character "because we are given no clue to his inner  life."^  I shall try to show that there are clues to Stan's inner l i f e (as well as to Amy's and other characters' inner l i v e s ) and that these are a central component of the novel. Our understanding of this point i s assisted by Wilkes, who  G.A.  writes pertinently:  Stan Parker i s the mute visionary i n The Tree of Man. He represents an element i n the book that c r i t i c s have shied away from, even though i t i s a central element, and one persistent i n White's work from i the beginning.^ In thus "shying away", c r i t i c s have avoided the chief vehicles of consciousness i n the novel.  A v a l i d reading must focus  104 attention on them, for Stan and Amy,  l i k e Oliver Halliday,  l i k e Elyot Standish, l i k e Theodora, are born into the world of White's consistent vision--a world of a l i e n a t i o n , of duality and isolation--and i t i s through their consciousness that the v i s i o n i s rendered. But whereas i n the three previous novels, existence i n White's world has been explored from the point of view and through the consciousness of highly self-conscious, i n t e l l e c t u a l l y nimble i n d i v i d u a l s , whose l u c i d perceptions of the paradoxes which White conceives have tormented them to d i s t r a c t i o n , now,  i n this fourth novel, the point of  view i s of a d i f f e r e n t kind.  For Stan Parker and Amy,  who  between them form the main focus of the novel, are slow, i n a r t i c u l a t e , uncomprehending people.  Wilkes' "mute visionar  i s an apt expression. But the fact that they are less able than other White figures to conceptualize the nature of their experiences of l i f e , does not alter the facts i n which those experiences inevitably o r i g i n a t e . says Amy, (p. 355).  " I do not understand  about her wayward son's motives, "but I know" To say, as White himself and others have done,  that the Parkers are "ordinary" and therefore more representa tive of humanity than i s Theodora, i s only to say (and i t i s probably t r u e ) , that there are more individual people i n the world l i k e Stan, than l i k e Theodora.  But i f the Parkers  are, i n this s t a t i s t i c a l sense, more average than Theodora there i s no reason why we should consider them more (or less) e s s e n t i a l l y human than she i s . that The Tree of Man  To suggest,las Wilkes does,  "might almost have been written to put  an end to the theme of alienation" i s e n t i r e l y misleading.  105 As  less  articulate  people  the Parkers are not concepts  chapter  ( o n page 59),  time."  "my  But  t h e y do  individual,  Young Man  of  dilemma  to  absurd  occasion  philosophic  this  and  to  s u r v i v e a t t h e same  "dilemma".  Stan, f o r  same c o n f l i c t between h i s  social  realities,  And  and  his  a l t h o u g h Stan does not  o f c o n f l i c t and  c o n d i t i o n of l i f e ,  at l e a s t ,  the  i n t h e p l a y i s how  survival,  his  i n s t i n c t i v e mind d o e s e x p r e s s h i s a w a r e n e s s o f and  as  partici-  survival  conscious of personal mysteries,-as  describes.  dilemma o r t a l k  say,  I have p r e f i x e d  experience t h i s  i s aware o f t h e  i n the world  experience i n abstract  They do n o t  i n the c o n f l i c t of e e l s ,  instance,  as an  terms.  does i n the passage  take part  pation  aware o f t h e i r  or p h i l o s o p h i c  Young Man  t h a n most o f W h i t e ' s c h a r a c t e r s ,  he  young man  finds has  i n i t s own  the  way;  call  the it a  slow, the and  same image as t h e  frustrating on  one  rationally,  used:  A l l t h e s e men, r o c k i n g on t h e i r h e e l s o r i n c l i n i n g g r a v e l y were a n x i o u s f o r S t a n P a r k e r t o assume t h e i r s i z e , t o t e l l them s o m e t h i n g f r o m h i s own h e r o i c l i f e . So t h e y i n c l i n e d , and w a i t e d . T h e r e was one t h i n g t o tell. But he c o u l d n o t . "Go o n , " he s a i d , s h a k i n g t h e h a n d s from o f f t h e s l e e v e of h i s c o a t . "Leave me. There's nothing to tell." S e v e r a l s u r p r i s e d g e n t l e m e n mumbled t h r o u g h r e s p e c t a b l e l i p s o f p u r p l e g r a p e s k i n s , "What's g o t i n t e r y e r , mate?" " T e l l what?" "The f l i c k i n t r u t h i s n o t t o l d , so nobody a s k e d f o r i t , or n o t h i n . See?" Stan P a r k e r l o o k e d round the p l a c e , s e e i n g t h a t i t was now p r e t t y f u l l , and w r i t h i n g , y e t he was a l o n e w i t h h i s t h o u g h t s , c o u l d l o o k a t a w a l l , i f he c h o s e , between t h e h e a d s o f e e l s . (p.333).  There  i s a second,  false  critical  assumption  which i s  106 also worth some discussion.  Again, White himself i s pro-  bably the main source of error.  He adds to the statement  quoted e a r l i e r , But at the same time, I wanted to discover the extraordinary behind the ordinary, the mystery and the poetry which alone could make bearable the l i v e s of such people, and i n c i d e n t a l l y my own l i f e since my return. "Mystery" and "poetry" are misleading terms, insofar as they suggest some kind of neo-Wordsworthian or Faulknerian u p l i f t i n g of the heart.  Buckley reads the book, apparently  expecting to find that Stan's l i f e w i l l f i n a l l y be made "bearable" through the attainment of some easily explicable panacea.  He complains of "a certain perversity" i n White's  rendering of the sense of peace at the end of Stan's  life.  "We can have no clue," he says, "to the significance of t h i s r e c o n c i l i a t i o n with the actual, because i t i s put i n g  gratuitously."  Likewise, Wilkes comments that  for a l l i t s insistence on the values of the workaday world, i t s mystique of man immersed i n nature, The Tree of Man shows that fulfilment f o r Stan l i e s not within l i f e as normally l i v e d , but beyond i t . This i s the source of an uncertainty i n the book--the tension between what the novel i s apparently advocating, and what i t enacts."9 We may consider later just what White means by "mystery and poetry".  Meanwhile, i t i s necessary once again to i n s i s t  that White i s a consistent novelist of v i s i o n , not a prophet or  a teacher;  that he i s concerned to render l i f e as he  sees i t , to "imitate" i n the A r i s t o t e l i a n sense;  he i s not  concerned to advocate v i t a l i s m or stoicism, or any other e t h i c a l or philosophical code--at least not i n 1955.  As a  107 sensitive human being, he has a p a r t i c u l a r understanding of the nature of existence, and t h i s i s his v i s i o n ;  and as an  a r t i s t , he has both the v i s i o n and the technique to render the v i s i o n i n communicable form.  His art o f f e r s us a way  of seeing l i f e , not a road to contentment.  As an a r t i s t ,  he also has the right to be judged i n terms of the v i s i o n which he renders i n his t e x t .  A close scrutiny of the text  reveals that there i s nothing to j u s t i f y the expectations which Buckley, Wilkes and others claim are u n s a t i s f i e d . On the contrary, the one direct clue which White does, i n f a c t , give, as a preliminary guide to the meaning of h i s novel, suggests something quite unlike an answer to human problems, such as the c r i t i c s have looked f o r :  The t i t l e  of the book, and the poem from which i t comes (part of which i s included i n the text and i s i d e n t i f i e d for the reader on the obverse of the t i t l e page) suggests a continual state of human d i s t r e s s and personal l i m i t a t i o n s — o f mankind ("the  tree") endlessly disturbed, and of individual men  ("the  saplings") taking turns i n a sequence of harassed  and short-lived l i f e cycles: The tree of man was never quiet: Then 'twas the Roman, now ' t i s I . The gale i t p l i e s the saplings double, It blows so hard, ' t w i l l soon be gone: Today the Roman and his trouble Are ashes under Uricon. White's novel, then, explores the condition of man who i s both part of the general tree, blown by the wind but continuing to survive, and also an individual sapling, bent double by the gale and soon to disappear into ashes. In treating t h i s theme, White extends the rendering of h i s  108 v i s i o n of l i f e as a state of a l i e n a t i o n , and he must be allowed the same c r i t i c a l open-mindedness as we are accustomed to allow to writers from George E l i o t to Faulkner, whose s e n s i b i l i t i e s are generally recognised, as having complex modern bases.  White's work w i l l not be pinned down under  such labels as "the mystique of man  immersed i n nature,"  be adequately explicated by eulogies and comparisons.  nor  An  examination of technical and thematic elements w i l l show precisely how  i t i s an embodiment of that v i s i o n of which  the only safe generalization that can be made--on the basis of the previous novels—is that i t i s l i k e l y to focus on the problem of alienation; and the title-poem confirms  this  expectation. a. THE TREE OF MAN:  TECHNIQUES  Just as the part structure of The Aunt 1 s Story  was  designed to render Theodora's experience of l i f e , so The Tree of Man  i s structural i n a series of parts corresponding  Stan and Amy's l i f e experience.  to  The three parts of the  e a r l i e r novel revealed the narrowing focus of a primarily mental, or i n t e l l e c t u a l  awareness of the chain of events within  the inner world of Theodora's own mind. The Tree of Man  The four parts of  reveal a progression i n which the objects  of experience exist i n the stable world of objective r e a l i t y - the outer world;  and the pattern of awareness i s not a  narrowing down, but a cycle related to the n a t u r a l , seasonal cycle.  The parts develop the Parkers' consciousness  youth, early maturity, middle age and old age, to spring, summer, autumn and winter.  through  corresponding  109 In in  P a r t One, we see the P a r k e r s a c t i v e l y  blossoming  the springtime of t h e i r l i v e s , e s t a b l i s h i n g  themselves  on t h e l a n d , p l a n t i n g and c l e a r i n g and b u i l d i n g .  And t h e i r  c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f o b j e c t s and events s e l e c t s p a r t i c u l a r aspects of the spring  season:  In t h e c l e a r morning o f those e a r l y y e a r s the cabbages stood out f o r t h e woman more d i s t i n c t l y t h a n o t h e r t h i n g s , when they were n o t m e l t i n g i n a t e n d e r n e s s of l i g h t . The young cabbages, t h a t were soon a p r o s p e c t o f v e i n e d l e a v e s , melted i n ' t h e mornings o f thawing f r o s t . T h e i r blue and p u r p l e f l e s h r a n t o g e t h e r w i t h t h e s i l v e r o f water, t h e j e w e l s of l i g h t , i n the s m e l l o f warming e a r t h . (p.26) I t was a season o f a c t i v i t y and l i f e t h a t might h o l d almost any i s s u e , as she walked w i t h her p a i l , e v e n i n g s , to t h e w a i t i n g cow. (p.52) In  P a r t Two, t h e ground-breaking  a c t i v i t y o f youth  s l a c k e n s o f f and p e o p l e b e g i n t o congregate  around t h e i r  village, The women t o dawdle through t h e i r shopping, t h e men, w i t h l e s s excuse, t o waste time. Summer was a time of w h i t e dust and y e l l o w g r i t . (p.101) The P a r k e r s produce c h i l d r e n and f a l l  i n t o a k i n d o f summer  s t u p o r o f contentment and p r o d u c t i v i t y : The s t u r d y woman w i t h her two c h i l d r e n c o n t i n u e d s t a n d i n g amongst t h e t r e e s . (p.136) New p a t t e r n s of l i f e , o f paddock and yard and o r c h a r d , would be t r a c e d on t h e s i d e s of t h e h i l l s and t h e l i t t l e gullies. But n o t y e t . I n time. I n slow time too, of hot summer days. (p.102) These were, on t h e whole, becalmed y e a r s , i n s p i t e of the v i s i b l e evidence o f growth. Any r e f e r e n c e t o t h e f u t u r e was made, n o t w i t h c o n v i c t i o n , but i n accordance w i t h convention. (p.125)  110 T h i s dreamy p e r i o d comes to an end w i t h the outbreak  of  v a s t , d e s t r u c t i v e f o r c e s of n a t u r e and man--"the f i r e t h a t c o u l d consume, a p p a r e n t l y , whole i n t e n t i o n s " (p.169), "the g r e a t j o k e of war"  and  (p.194).  P a r t Three, the autumn of "the t r e e of man", w i t h a. sense of f a i l i n g powers, of inadequacy  is filled  t o t a c k l e the  p e r s o n a l problems of l i f e which become more and more ponderous; The days of autumn i n which she walked were p e r f e c t i n themselves. The wind dropped at t h a t time of the y e a r . B i r d s r o s e i n d o l e n t l y and a l i g h t e d w i t h ease. Quinces f e l l and r o t t e d a f t e r a t i m e ; she s a t on a d o o r s t e p and c o u l d not p i c k them up . . . . Only the human b e i n g might s t i l l e r u p t , and assume f r e s h forms, or d i s i n t e g r a t e . She watched her husband w a l k i n g through the s t u b b l e . He had begun t o s h r i v e l a b i t . H i s neck was o l d . What i f she should f i n d Stan f a l l e n i n the g r a s s w i t h h i s f a c e l o s t i n an e x p r e s s i o n she d i d not know? (p.234) The c h i l d r e n grow up and d e p a r t from home, l e a v i n g the p a r e n t s empty: There was n o t h i n g , of c o u r s e , t h a t you c o u l d e x p l a i n by methods of l o g i c ; o n l y a l e a f f a l l i n g a t dusk w i l l d i s t u r b the reason w i t h o u t r e a s o n . Stan P a r k e r went about the p l a c e on which he had l e d h i s l i f e , by which he was consumed r e a l l y . T h i s i s my l i f e , he would have s a i d i f he had expressed h i m s e l f o t h e r than by a c t s of the body. But t h e r e were seasons o f s t u b b l e and dead g r a s s , when doubts d i d p r e s s up. (p.302) Of course her son had gone away by t h i s time, so Amy P a r k e r went q u i c k l y out. Then what have I got? ahe asked, as the v o i d h i t her . . . . She longed f o r some knowledge of which o t h e r s were a p p a r e n t l y p o s s e s s o r s . I have n o t h i n g , I know n o t h i n g , she suspected. Her b r e a t h panted t o l e a r n , as her a n k l e s t u r n e d on s t o n e s , but t h e r e was no i n d i c a t i o n where or how t o b e g i n , (p.366)  Ill In Part Four, the Parkers and their homestead s l i p further and further towards decay and death.  The cycle  of individual existence i s coming to an end, while the wide, impersonal world continues i n i t s endless cycles: The garden at Parkers' had almost taken possession of the house, (p.371) The wooden homes stood, each i n i t s smother of trees, l i k e oases i n a desert of progress. They were i n process of being forgotten, of f a l l i n g down, and would eventually be swept up with the bones of those who had lingered i n them. (p.408) Stan and Amy  are grandparents, and they move slowly and  weakly through the winter of their l i v e s .  In the f i r s t pages  of this section Stan has a physical collapse, and the unpleasantness of winter i s mentioned several times.  Amy  comforts herself by polishing furniture "with long methodical sweeps u n t i l i t l i t the winter with the glow of old red wood" (p.373).  V i s i t o r s come and go, and the Parkers begin to  l i v e more and more i n memories, recalled i n the calm of physical repose: Amy Parker got back ponderously onto the veranda. Whole afternoons she waited for other witnesses of the past, but saw young people who had not yet l i v e d , and strangers who were blank or kind. . . . So she got cranky at times, ugly. Or appeared herself with the past. Growing serene and even wise with these snapshots that she could produce at w i l l from out of her sleeve. The past i s a miracle of minor saints, (p.383) The old people begin to know the depths of f e a r , and Stan has "a presentiment of death" (p.421): There he sat. A grey l i g h t prevailed, by chance or i n t e n t i o n , similar to that which i s seen i n bedrooms at morning. This i s the l i g h t i n which a man becomes aware that he w i l l d i e .  112 The I am going to d i e , he said. p o s s i b l e . (p.420)  It did not seem  Amy's climaxes of fear come with Mrs O'Dowd's death and the Ouigley murder though she always manages to f o r e s t a l l an ultimate confrontation of the fact of death by placing her confidence i n other people, p a r t i c u l a r l y Stan: She was thinking a l l t h i s time of the twin knives turning i n Doll Quigley and Mrs. O'Dowd. Then what tortures are i n store? she asked, and was a f r a i d , even though she was going home to her husband, a quiet man who would stand up at the last moment perhaps, and say something. Stan w i l l know, she said. So she was comforted. So the green sky of winter flowed by. (p.£85) Stan, on the other hand, comes to a gradual acceptance of the inescapable conditions of l i f e and the approach of death: Peace i s desirable i n i t s e l f , he said, and so i n the absence of evidence that he would receive more, he accepted t h i s with humility and gratitude. (p.432) He s i t s , just before h i s death, on a patch of grass"which was quite dead-looking from the touch of winter" (p.493); and as he d i e s , we learn that "he prayed for greater c l a r i t y and i t became obvious as a hand" (p.497).  Amy's last thoughts  in the novel reveal her consciousness of h i s death, i n terms of the subtraction of one individual from the continuing human species: Stan i s dead. (p.497)  My husband.  In the boundless  garden,  This contrasts n i c e l y with her springtime confidence i n the permanent unity of husband and wife: Their l i v e s had grown together. They would continue in that way, because i t was not possible to divide their common trunk.  113 The b r i e f , f i n a l chapter simply emphasizes the continuity of  the l i f e of "the tree of man"  after the loss of one stem:  So that i n the end there were the trees. The boy walking through them. . . . So that, i n the end, there was no end. We see then, how the part structure establishes Stan's and Amy's consciousness i n complete association with the seasonal cycle of the natural world.  The association i s  actual rather than symbolic for Stan and Amy  are integrated  with the phenomenal world (just as Theodora becomes integrated with the private world of her imagination) and the pattern of  their consciousness i s simply part of an overall natural  pattern.  We see, for instance, how the p l a i n , h i s t o r i c a l  perspective of their l i v e s f a l l s into the same pattern (and i s likewise rendered through the part structure). history i s that of plants: down t h e i r roots.  Their  In Part One, they grow and put  In Part Two, they produce f r u i t .  Part Three, they are stripped of their f r u i t .  In  In Part Four,  (in a pun which sounds s i l l y i n quotation, but not i n i t s context, they witness the "strokes . . . which f e l l members of the family" Q>.492j), and they f i n a l l y wither and d i e . The four-part structure thus exists both i n the consciousness of the characters and i n the objective n a r r a t i v e . Where Macbeth says "My way of l i f e / I s f a l l e n into the sere, the yellow leaf;/And that which should accompany old age,/ . . .," he uses a nature image which happens to suit Shakespeare's purpose at that p a r t i c u l a r point i n the play (just as, l a t e r , he uses the image of a bear tied to a stake, which i s quite unnatural).  But i n The Tree of Man, nature  i s used much more fundamentally than as a source of occasional images.  The seasonal cycle i s established through the part-  114 structure, i n such a way as to establish the nature of the Parkers' central experiences of l i f e , and their consciousness of  those experiences. Superimposed upon t h i s experience- of the i n e v i t a b l e ,  natural c y c l e , i s the Parkers' i r o n i c consciousness that they do not share i t s permanence.  They know that they are,  so to speak, annuals i n a perennial garden, and t h i s consciousness i s rendered, as we shall note, by the use of certain motifs and images which are objects of mystery and wonder. The structure and the consciousness of mystery thus stand in an incongruous relationship to one another and provide the technique for rendering the theme of d u a l i t y . F i n a l l y , we should notice that the shaping of the Parkers' consciousness i n the form of a natural cycle establishes the basis of t h e i r epistemology as they confront the problem of duality i n their l i v e s .  The natural cycle i s the form of  their experience, and the natural world i s the primary substance of r e a l i t y for them.  They are predominantly  "earth-bound" as Theodora i s predominantly "earth-loosed" and even the mysteries of l i f e are usually apprehended by them through such natural events as storm and l i g h t n i n g . In  the two novels, White renders h i s v i s i o n of duality from  complementary points of view.  Stan's rootedness i s nature  i s the obverse of Theodora's withdrawal into solipsism. Both worlds--the objective, phenomenal world of nature, and the subjective, imagined world of private apprehension--are real according to White's v i s i o n and together they constitute the paradoxical duality of existence.  Theodora's consciousness  moves, largely by means of the part-structure of The Aunt's Story, u n t i l i t i s fixed predominantly i n the l a t t e r world, the subjective.  In "earth-bound" language she goes mad.  115 The Parkers' consciousness i s s i m i l a r l y established as predominantly rooted i n the former world, the objective. To put t h i s point another way:  Theodora makes a  crossing from " t h i s " world into another world, and the part-structure of her story shows t h i s .  Stan and Amy have  intimations of another worlds, but they do not make the * crossing;  they remain fixed i n the natural cycle which the  part structure of their story renders.  They do not "go mad?',  but remain i n the world of nature u n t i l they are " f e l l e d " . The use of motifs i n The Tree of Man i s less obtrusive than i n any of the other novels. of  This i s largely because  the f a c t , that i n establishing the natural world as the  centre of r e a l i t y for the Parkers, White's a r t i s t i c idiom becomes a common idiom.  In other words, the main motifs  he chooses for rendering natural experiences are so common in l i t e r a t u r e and l i f e , that they do not stand out m the way that the bones motif or the mirror motif does, i n other novels.  We think of "the tree of man", for instance, as a  large and rather vague symbol, and we can easily f a i l to observe the frequent and meticulous use of trees as a motif. Yet there are over f i f t y recurrences of the motif, i n the novel, and the following examples i l l u s t r a t e the range of i t s usage as an index of individual character and of man's relationship with nature: Ray Parker, whose l i f e and character are presented as unnaturally destructive, i s revealed to us at certain moments through the motif: He loved to shin up and clamber from branch to branch, u n t i l he was almost bending the c r e s t , and now t h i s  116 s e n s a t i o n was most i m p e r a t i v e . To t o u c h t h e t h i c k wood. To s t r u g g l e w i t h and f i n a l l y overcome i t . (p.133) He was p e r p e t u a l l y wandering through bush, h a c k i n g o r s c r a t c h i n g , l o o k i n g f o r b i r d s or something t o k i l l . . . . Ah, i f I c o u l d escape, he s a i d , bending a s a p l i n g t i l l i t b r o k e , (p.227) H i s sense o f o p p r e s s i o n and p e r s e c u t i o n ,  which provokes  gratuitous  a c t s o f savagery, i s rendered through t h e m o t i f , i n h i s consciousness,  when he hacks up Con's f a m i l y snapshots:  A f t e r a b i t he stopped. I t was under a t r e e . I t was a b i g o l d b a n k s i a , f u l l o f dead heads, t h e t r u n k and branches o f t h e t r e e t o r t u r e d i n t o abominable shapes, f u l l o f dust and u g l i n e s s . A l l beauty and goodness were e x c l u d e d from t h a t p l a c e , t h e sky b e i n g o b l i t e r a t e d f o r t h e moment. The boy was s h i v e r i n g , t h a t t o o k out t h e k n i f e . . . . (p.240) A g a i n , when he r i d i c u l e s Thelma's hopes f o r n a t u r a l , domestic s t a b i l i t y h i s own sense o f o p p r e s s i o n w i t h i n t h e home i s r e n d e r e d through h i s c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f t r e e s : He s a t l o o k i n g out o f t h e window a t s k e i n s of g r e y r a i n t h a t were b e i n g f l u n g a c r o s s t h e paddocks, and b l a c k t r e e s r e s t r a i n e d so f a r by t h e i r r o o t s , (p.251) The a n t i t h e s i s o f Ray's d e s t r u c t i v e s p i r i t , h i s f a t h e r ' s harmonious  involvement i n t h e n a t u r a l w o r l d , i s a l s o developed  through t h e m o t i f .  Stan b u i l d s h i s f i r s t ,  out o f "bags and a few s a p l i n g s " ( p . 3 7 ) .  temporary abode When h i s l o g house  i s complete, i t forms p a r t of t h e n a t u r a l s u r r o u n d i n g s : Seen through t h e t r e e s , i t was a p l a i n but honest ;."  house.  (P.ii)  And though he has had t o c u t down t r e e s , h i s d e s t r u c t i o n has been f o r a n a t u r a l , c r e a t i v e purpose, and we a r e t o l d t h a t " t h e stumps had ceased t o b l e e d " course.  (p.11) i n due  Subsequently, h i s l i f e experiences are  117  rendered i n terms of the motif--even down to the d e t a i l of seeing a hand which lands near him i n battle as "a t e n d r i l that had been torn off some vine" (p.203).  As a great storm  breaks on his f r a i l homestead and threatens to destroy i t , he f e e l s that "God  blew from the clouds, and men would  scatter l i k e leaves" (p.43); and he i s aware, as the wind r i s e s , of "the passionate s t r i v i n g of trees" (p.43).  Late  in l i f e , his sense of peace, acquired through mere acceptance of  his existence i n the world of nature i s beautifully  rendered through a v a r i a t i o n of the motif: He had developed a passion for carpentry i n recent years, and could now see with peculiar distinctness the grain on the p a r t i c u l a r wood on which he was working, and the nick near a dovetail which had been worrying him because of the blemish i t would leave. Otherwise, the simplicity and rightness of his work was greatly s a t i s f y i n g . In his fever he could not have been cleaner swept. A l l that he had l i v e d , a l l that he had seen, had the extreme simplicity of goodness. Any acts that he r e l i v e d i n that ample darkness of the room were performed with the genuine honesty of freshly planed wood. (p.406) And for those readers who may  r e l i s h the very faintest  a r t i s t i c touch, such anguish as Stan s t i l l has at the thought of  death i s rendered i n the ultimate elaboration of the motif: Oh God, oh God, he was saying from time to time, but very quietly and d u s t i l y , l i k e sawdust, (p.407 Getting back to the bolder strokes, we find at •  the end of Stan's l i f e , the most direct and obvious appearance of the motif, which stands also as one of the tree symbols, independent of i t s recurrence as a motif, for part  118 of  i t s meaning: That afternoon the old man's chair had been put on the grass at the back, which was quite dead-looking from the touch of winter. Out there at the back, the grass, you could hardly c a l l i t a lawn, had formed a c i r c l e i n the shrubs and trees which the old woman had not so much planted as stuck i n during her l i f e t i m e . There was l i t t l e of design i n the garden o r i g i n a l l y , though one had formed out of the wilderness. It was p e r f e c t l y obvious that the man was seated at the heart of i t , and from this heart, the trees radiated, with grave movements of l i f e , and beyond them the sweep of a vegetable garden. . . . (p.493) From these quotations alone, we see that although the  tree motif i s used extensively i n the novel, i t s force can e a s i l y be missed i n a casual reading, or i t may read as a loosely applied symbol.  simply be  In a closer reading,  we discover that recurrence with v a r i a t i o n creates a motival rhythm, revealing character and the nature of consciousness. Of the common natural objects and phenomena which form other r e l a t i v e l y unobstrusive motifs i n the novel, the most important are those of roses, l i g h t n i n g , cabbages, possessive love, gazing out of a window, plants rubbing and "sawing" against houses.  The way i n which these motifs are used to  render v i s i o n i s something which White's readers perceive as they become familiar with his works, and they could each be discussed i n the way  that we have discussed the tree  motif. A second kind of motif, i n The Tree of Man, and  one  which i s more c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of White's work as a whole, i s the motif which i s unusual, either in i t s e l f , or i n the way i t i s presented, or i n the concepts to which White relates  119 it.  The nutmeg grater, f o r instance, i s , i n i t s e l f , an  uncommon object and we therefore notice i t s few recurrences as a motif, more than we do, say, cabbages i n the novel. We r e c a l l i t as we r e c a l l the nautilus shell or Mrs Goodman's paper k n i f e .  The nutmeg grater and the Parkers' separate  attitudes to i t , are a tiny indication of the change which takes place i n their romantic idealism, between the early spring and the late winter of their l i v e s .  At the end, Amy  i s s t i l l a l i t t l e excited by the useless object, while for Stan i t i s just some "irrelevant thing" which "he had f o r gotten" (p.496). Another motif of this second kind i s that of ants-common enough, but presented unusually, as i n Mr Gage's painting (p.290), or where Amy i s "staring eye to eye with the ant" (p.28).  Also there are a few occasions when the  bones motif of The Aunt's Story crops up, though these are, n a t u r a l l y , rare i n The Tree of Man, since t h i s motif i s used to render a form of consciousness which i s dominant i n Theodora and only v e s t i g i a l i n the Parkers. One of the best, though s l i g h t e s t , examples of the unusual motif, i s d e t a i l of g r i s t l e i n the neck, which forms a rhythmic indication of the consciousness of age.  It occurs  f i r s t where "Stan Parker knew by his mother's shoulders and the g r i s t l e i n her neck, that she would die soon" (p.9). There follow^ , i n the course of the novel, several r e appearances and variations of the motif, including one which i l l u s t r a t e s c l e a r l y how Stan's consciousness  i s physical,  where Theodora's i s mental: Stan Parker sat there i n the lovely morning, feeling his neck, which was g r i s t l y , and h i s sides, of which  120 the ribs were weak. If he could have put his hand on his own soul and judged i t s shape, age, toughness and d u r a b i l i t y , he would have done so. . . .He continued to smile through a haze of exhaustion, watching the young man work at a normal r a t e . (p.376). (Theodora's  self awareness i s revealed, not through f e e l i n g  her neck, or watching the way a younger person acts, but through studying her own face i n a mirror and contemplating the nature of what she sees). Besides the part-structure and the use of motifs, a> t h i r d , main technical feature of The Tree of Man i s the unusual prose s t y l e .  This aspect of the novel has been much d i s -  cussed, and either condemned or condoned.  C r i t i c s have  consistently f a i l e d to admit the p o s s i b i l i t y that the strange effects which White achieves through t h i s technique may  be  a successful r e a l i s a t i o n of a deliberate a r t i s t i c intention. They concur i n finding the main effect one of confused and disconnected expression; and, with one voice, they regret t h i s lack of c l a r i t y . attempted  White, we are led to believe, has  some o r i g i n a l purpose (variously s p e c i f i e d ) , and  has f a i l e d to achieve i t p e r f e c t l y , through becoming too "manneristic".^  The intention of t h i s rendering has not  been sought at any depth, or with a willingness to be educated to perceive new  technical p o s s i b i l i t i e s .  Instead,  i t s effect has been pooh-poohed as a poor derivative from Forster, Hemingway, Joyce, Lawrence and Faulkner.  The kind  of reading which t h i s thesis i s urging for White's work can, once again, be usefully c l a r i f i e d , by establishing the apparent error of the c r i t i c s i n t h i s respect, and by offering  121 an emphatically d i f f e r e n t a l t e r n a t i v e .  We shall therefore  examine a representative statement by a mature and  scholarly  c r i t i c , whose a r t i c l e on The Tree of Man has been described as "excellent"*'*" by another White scholar, and has been anthologised i n a c o l l e c t i o n which purports "to assist L_the] 12 common pursuit of true l i t e r a r y judgment." The famous style becomes almost a separate subject for a n a l y s i s , p r e c i s e l y because i t i s so often and so obviously something else than an instrument of clarity; so often i t has only a f a c t i t i o u s r e l a t i o n to the things he i s writing about. The more complex the m a t e r i a l , the more decorative and evasive the prose seems to become. In an e a r l i e r novel, The Aunt 1 s Story (1948), for example, the whole of the second half of the novel i s imprisoned i n a soft cocoon of imprecision. The prose i s at i t s best when he i s evoking simpler, more direct sensations, perceptions, and imaginings. But at moments of complex c r i s i s , i t i s pretentious and evasive (p.326): The woman Amy Parker began to turn out the house during those days, to f o l d quantities of brown paper, to make l i t t l e hanks out of lengths of s t r i n g , to glance through old l e t t e r s and come across yellow photographs . . . This photograph she stood upon a chest i n the bedroom, propped against a vase, and would go there g u i l t i l y to look at i t . Before resuming the business of her house. Arranging and f u r b i s h i n g . "Here are some handkerchiefs that I put by, Stan, and that you have not used," she said once to her husband, with the clear overtones of voice used by one whose secret l i f e i s c l o u d i e r . She brought the p i l e out to show that i t was true, that there should be at least this between them. She was a good wife, putting a handkerchief in his pocket before he went on a journey, and brushing the f a l l e n hair from his c o l l a r with her hand. He accepted a l l t h i s , of course. And today, which was the day he had agreed to advise  122 a young man, a Peabody, about the purchase of some land at Hungerford, which i s the other side of Bangalay. This passage seems an uneasy mixture of exactitude and a f f e c t a t i o n . The psychological observation i s c o r r e c t , but the language i s sometimes almost coy i n i t s pretentiousness; the last sentence, for example, has something ludicrous about i t . And the affectation i s the result of his attempt to take i n too many . diverse influences: some passages are a sort of f r u i t salad of modern prose. H.J.Oliver mentions Forster; but Joyce, Faulkner, Hemingway and Lawrence are a l l i n the bowl as well.13 The nub of Buckley's objection i s that "the style has only a f a c t i t i o u s r e l a t i o n to the things White i s writing about;" the prose is "evasive".  The psychological accuracy  of observation, i s seen as the true merit of the passage. We reconstruct the thinking that l i e s behind this conclusion, something l i k e t h i s :  "Yes, t h i s i s r e a l ;  t h i s woman, at  t h i s autumn period of her l i f e - - h e r children gone, old age approaching--staves off boredom by domestic r i t u a l s , wandering about the house, sorting out old snapshots, getting her husband's handkerchiefs  ready;  yes, stealing n o s t a l g i c ,  and even g u i l t y , glances at a picture of herself as a g i r l . So she hands Stan these handkerchiefs, to establish her wifely r o l e , and (for the plot) because he's going out. Where?  To help young Peabody buy land (Good!  Stan i s now  the elder advising the youth on essential matters). there's more . . . 'at Hungerford'.  So what?  . . . 'which i s the other side of Bangalay.'  More s t i l l Oh come  t h i s i s irrelevant and a bit pretentious, a sort of they-came-to-Jericho-which-is-on-the-further-side-ofJerusalem' e f f e c t . "  Oh, now,  'and-  123 On the face of i t , such a response would seem j u s t i f i a b l e . Why,  after a l l "at Hungerford" and why  the solemn and  gratuitous information "which i s the other side of Bangalay"? The answer, I think, i s that the place and i t s distance from D u r i l g a i are uppermost i n Stan 1 s and Amy's consciousness, for s p e c i f i c reasons, and we have to understand that the narrator i s rendering their consciousness when words are used in the manner of this last sentence.  In part, the information  and i t s serious conveyance represent simply the sense of importance which attaches to the unusual event of Stan's leaving the homestead.  But, more importantly, they reveal  the nature of the Parkers' consciousness, i n response to Amy's adultery.  Stan i s not exactly sure of the nature of  the disturbance which has occurred i n his recent absence from home, and Amy  i s not quick-witted or vicious enough  to recognise and jump at t h i s new opportunity for i n f i d e l i t y . But now  that Stan i s going away again, i t does register i n  their minds that some important fact i s related to the distance of his absence, i n time and space.  And, being the kind of  people that they are, their consciousness of t h i s factor i n the journey i s rendered through f i x i n g of their minds on d e f i n i t e places, rather than i n abstract terms.  We  are  not told ". . . at Hungerford, which would mean an absence of six and a half hours from home--hours i n which the thing that had happened might happen again." This point i s , of course, only one of the d e t a i l s i n the long quotation from Buckley;  but i t i s a central  for i t i s both the main ground of his objection, and the  one,  124 c u l m i n a t i o n i n the passage of W h i t e ' s  r e n d e r i n g of  particular  It  episode of consciousness.  Amy's l o o k i n g at the photograph, handkerchiefs, present  is  and h e r c a r e f o r  consciousness  of her a d u l t e r y .  s e t t i n g up and l o o k i n g a t t h e p h o t o g r a p h stream of n o s t a l g i c  i s p a r t of a whole  first  to Stan a f t e r the f i r s t act of  a series  of  slight  "with  close  some o f  an  reading.  a b o v e , we see  stylistic units.  how By  prose d i s t o r t i o n s of t h i s  he h a s c r e a t e d a s u b s t a n t i a l e f f e c t i n t h e book a s w h i c h annoyed  an  her  s t y l e i s p a r t of  discussed  e f f e c t i v e l y White uses the s m a l l e s t  is  adultery:  i n t e g r a t e d t e c h n i c a l complex which repays I n c o n s i d e r i n g t h e two p h r a s e s  her  fifteen  seen i n  She w a n t e d t o do s o m e t h i n g f o r h i m . " H e r e ' s a n i c e p i e c e , S t a n , " she s a i d , t h e fast on t h a t y o u l i k e . " ( p . 3 1 3 ) We see t h e n , how W h i t e ' s p r o s e  in  of h a n d k e r c h i e f s  e x t e n s i o n of her d e s i r e f o r atonement,  means o f  her  The  and w h i c h f l o w t h r o u g h t h e p r e v i o u s And t h e r i t u a l  with  Stan's  a c t i o n s w h i c h have been s e t o f f  pages of the n o v e l .  attitude  associated  i n p r o v i d i n g a m u l t i p l e r e n d e r i n g of  (cloudy)  by h e r l o v e r ,  a  kind,  a whole,  t h o s e who d i d n o t a p p r e c i a t e t h e  method and i t s r a t i o n a l e . White's style is 14 has  to say".  I n The T r e e o f Man i t r e n d e r s  of the P a r k e r s * of  i n d e e d " t h e v e r y l i n c h p i n o f what he  sensations,  conscious  e x p e r i e n c e — a slow  the nature progression  which are m a i n l y p h y s i c a l i n the sense  that  they r e l a t e c h i e f l y t o the o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t i e s of the n a t u r a l world;  t h e o r d i n a r y and r e p e t i t i v e c y c l e s o f e v e n t  a t t i t u d e of  and  an i n t e l l e c t u a l l y u n d e r - d e v e l o p e d c o u p l e ,  whose  125 s e n s i t i v i t i e s to the ironies and paradoxes of l i f e i s primitive and i n s t i n c t u a l , rather than sophisticatedly r a t i o n a l and abstract.  Hence, for example, Amy's consciousness  of the spring morning with a l l i t s promise of productivity, i s presented through her selective v i s i o n of certain objects, the significance of which i s sensed rather than abstractly perceived: In the clear morning of those early years, the cabbages stood out for the woman more d i s t i n c t l y than other things, when they were not melting, i n a tenderness of l i g h t . The young cabbages, that were soon a prospect of veined leaves, melting i n the mornings of thawing f r o s t . Their blue and purple f l e s h ran together with the s i l v e r of water, the jewels of l i g h t , i n the smell of warming earth. But always tensing. Already i n the hard, later l i g h t the young cabbages were resistant b a l l s of muscle, u n t i l i n time they were the b i g , p l a c i d cabbages, a l l heart and limp panniers, and i n the middle of the day there was the glandular stench of cabbages. (pp.26-27) This i s not a d i r e c t stream-of-consciousness  technique,  but a c a r e f u l l y selective rendering i n which her impressions are translated through the narrator's vocabulary. White, not Amy, "glandular".)  who,  (It i s  for instance, describes the stench as  But her perceptions are s t i l l simply rendered  rather than described or commented on.  The reader  may  translate the perceptions into concepts i f he wishes," but Amy  cannot;  and i f we r e s i s t t h i s temptation, and simply  accept her perceptions as images, we have a direct experience of her consciousness. Another interesting and noticeable feature of the prose,  126 i s the repeated use of simple, generic tertrts--the man, the woman, the husband, the mother, the son--in place of actual names (or often, as a p r e f i x , as i n "the woman, Amy Parker").  Admittedly this does tend to create a sort of  "Adam-and-Eve-in-Australia"  effect.*'*'  Yet t h i s effect  i s subsumed i n the larger purpose—the rendering of the nature of the Parkers' consciousness.  In order to understand  t h i s p o i n t , we have f i r s t to r e a l i s e that when the narrator uses an expression l i k e "the man, Stan Parker", the phraseology conveys not so much an objective awareness of h i s presence, as Stan's subjective self-awareness (or Amy's awareness of him).  This i s the way Stan and Amy think and  we do not find the device occuring i n r e l a t i o n t o , say, Thelma or Ray, except when they come into Stan's or Amy's consciousness.  Thus i t i s only when Thelma and Dudley  arrive at Durilgai that the l a t t e r i s referred to as "the husband" rather than "her husband" or p l a i n "Dudley". asks Stan:  Amy  "Do you l i k e this man, the s o l i c i t o r ? " and he  r e p l i e s , "He seems a good sort of man."  To be constantly  aware of oneself and others by personal name, i s the property of a more l u c i d , analytic mind than the Parkers possess. For to be aware of a person primarily by name, i s to be aware of h i s personal i d e n t i t y , rather than his generic existence.  Since the Parkers' central experience of r e a l i t y  i s rooted i n the physical properties and rhythmic cycles of the natural world, so they are aware of themselves and one another primarily as fellow-participants i n the a f f a i r s of that world — l i t e r a l l y , as animals, and sharing some of the anonymity with which we regard animals.  They d i f f e r  127 from one another i n the broad, sexual d i v i s i o n and i n other generic ways.  Their personal attributes are l i m i t e d ,  more or l e s s , to circumstantial accidents, as when Amy becomes "the forsaken woman" (p.28), when she i s l e f t alone i n the house.  Normally she i s "the woman" or "the wife",  and Stan i s "the man".  In Part One, she i s "the thin g i r l "  (p.22), "the young woman" (p.3), and he i s "the man", "the young man, her husband" (p.31).  Mrs. O'Dowd i s consistently  "the neighbour woman" (p.56) and "the fubsy woman" (p.57). They never get to know the name of the c h i l d picked up i n the f l o o d .  He i s simply "the c h i l d " and, l a t e r , "the lost  boy," because t h i s i s how the Parkers are aware of him.  By  the fourth part, Stan i s "the grandfather" (p.407) and "the old man" (p.495), as well as simply "the man."  Thus the  simple denominators are part of the overall techniques of rendering the nature of their consciousness and the pattern of i t s growth.  b. THE TREE OF MAN: THEME The theme of The Tree of Man might be described i n the same general terms as those used about The Aunt's Story, which I repeat from p.93 above:  The overall theme of the  novel i s i m p l i c i t i n the major techniques.  It i s the devel-  opment of individual consciousness i n the world of White's v i s i o n , the coming to a f u l l e r and f u l l e r awareness of the conditions of duality and i s o l a t i o n which are the primary facts of existence as White sees i t . But the nature of the Parkers' awareness of these facts i s different from Theodora's, as they are d i f f e r e n t kinds of people.  In discussing  128 Happy V a l l e y , we saw how White's characters are spread out i n a scale of self-awareness (see pp. 27-31  above),  on which Oliver represents the extreme high, and the Belpers and Furlows the extreme low.  The l a t t e r were described as  "dimly aware of their plight as human beings, but . . , unable to see ways and means of winning through to f u l f i l ment" (p. 29 above).  In Theodora, White extends h i s  treatment of the "Oliver end" of the scale;  in the Parkers,  he gives his f i r s t f u l l consideration to the "Furlow  end."  The p r i n c i p a l difference between the Parkers and Theodora i s that i n their response to consciousness of duality i n l i f e , the former remain on the "normal" side of the dividing line.  Thus the part-structure of The Tree of Man does not  (as that of The Aunt's Story did) act as a s t r i k i n g means of rendering the theme of d u a l i t y .  We must r e c a l l that i n  each novel the part-structure " i s designed to render the unfolding of consciousness" (p.93 above).  Whereas Theo-  dora's increasing "abnormality" corresponds to the movement towards i s o l a t i o n i n the structure of her story, the overall "normality" of Stan and Amy  i s matched by the normal,  c y c l i c a l l i f e processes which the part structure of their novel renders.  The part-structure thus reveals their i n t e -  gration i n the u n i f i e d , natural world. However, against the background "normality" of the partstructure, White presents the Parkers' occasional intimations of mysteries behind the appearance of things, and t h i s way the experience of duality occurs.  To c a l l i t the theme of  d u a l i t y i s perhaps misleading, for Stan and Amy do not conceptualize two p o s s i b i l i t i e s , l i k e Theodora's two Meroes  *  129 or Oliver's "world" and "not world".  Like the Furlows,  their awareness i s dim, and i t would therefore be more accurate to say that they experience vague ontological doubts.  Nevertheless, their experience i s b a s i c a l l y similar  to that of White's more conscious characters, whose a r t i c u l a t e concepts of duality do not help them to greater ontological certainty.  In' continuing to use the term "duality" we  r e f l e c t that White's v i s i o n does not change between The Aunt's Story (or even Happy Valley) and The Tree of  Man,  despite the different degrees of cerebral capacity of his characters. The clearest indication of the Parkers' consciousness of duality comes through the impact on their of certain objects and events of wonder.  sensibilities  For Stan, there  are boyhood memories of Shakespeare and the Old Testament, and for Amy,  the s i l v e r nutmeg grater.  Both of them respond  with awe to the mysterious violence inherent i n nature, for those who can see i t , i n i t s expression through l i g h t n i n g , storms, f i r e s and the f l o o d .  Then too, the dramatic destruction  of Glastonbury creates for each of them strange experiences of u n r e a l i t y which recur i n their thoughts and dreams over long periods of time. A l l these things break i n upon the monotony of the Parkers' l i v e s , casting doubt on the r e a l i t y of their immediate, experiential shere.  They respond with fear and  puzzlement, and sometimes with romantic dreams of superhuman joy.  Both kinds of response are evident, for instance, i n  Chapter F i v e , i n the storm and i t s aftermath.  130 The  storm o c c u r s i m m e d i a t e l y a f t e r the f i r s t d i s c o r d a n t  moment i n the P a r k e r s ' m a r r i a g e .  ( " I t was the f i r s t  time  i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p t h a t t h e r e were any l o o s e ends" p.42 to  .)  As the wind and r a i n b e g i n t o e x h i b i t t h e i r power,  "rouse the t e r r o r " and "bash the s m a l l wooden box"  which  i s t h e i r shack, Stan remembers the Old Testament and wonders whose s i d e God i s o n - - h i s or the storm's: Surrounded by the r e s e n t f u l inanimacy of r o c k and p a s s i o n a t e s t r i v i n g of the t r e e s , he was not s u r e . In t h i s s t a t e , he was p o s s e s s e d by an unhappiness, r a t h e r p h y s i c a l , t h a t was not yet f e a r , but he would have l i k e d t o l o o k up and see some e x p r e s s i o n of sympathy on the sky's f a c e . (p.43) As t r e e s snap and s p l i n t e r , "man  and woman were f l u n g a g a i n s t  each o t h e r w i t h the ease and s i m p l i c i t y of t o s s e d wood" (p.44) and they s u r v i v e .  A f t e r the storm, Stan  remembered a g a i n the f i g u r e s t h a t had plodded through the pages of h i s boyhood i n the f a c e of drought and famine and war, and the g r e a t d e s e r t s of human and d i v i n e i n j u s t i c e , as he l a y on the h o r s e h a i r s o f a . And here he was, s t i l l f u m b l i n g through the more p e r s o n a l e v e n t s . He c o u l d not i n t e r p r e t the l i g h t n i n g t h a t had w r i t t e n on t h e i r l i v e s , (p.45) Immediately a f t e r t h i s e v o c a t i o n of the c o n s c i o u s n e s s of m y s t e r y , we are g i v e n an i n d i c a t i o n of the r o m a n t i c hopes (which Stan and Amy  both s h a r e ) :  He had not l e a r n e d t o t h i n k f a r , and i n what p r o g r e s s he had made had reached the c o n c l u s i o n he was a p r i s o n e r i n h i s human mind, as i n the mystery of the n a t u r a l w o r l d . Only sometimes the touch of hands, the l i f t i n g of a s i l e n c e , the sudden shape of a t r e e or presence of a f i r s t s t a r , h i n t e d at e v e n t u a l r e l e a s e , (p.46) L a t e r i n the n o v e l , s e v e r a l r o m a n t i c i n c i d e n t s o c c u r but,  •*  131 though they are exciting at f i r s t , they do not provide "eventual release."  Madelaine, who represents a separate  romantic dream for each of the p a i r , becomes at l a s t , for Stan, just the memory of a hair-singed woman vomiting wretchedly on the lawn at Glastonbury.  For Amy,  she develops  into the dowdy Mrs Fisher "with the butter on her mouth after scones" (p.451).  And the romance i s dissolved:  Altogether she could not dissolve too completely the lovely effigy of Madelaine that had been hers. So poetry that has been used up must go out of the system. It must be got r i d of as b i l e i f necessary, (p.448) The word "poetry" i n t h i s last quotation reminds us of White's statement that he intended, i n t h i s novel, "to discover the extraordinary behind the ordinary, the mystery and the poetry which alone could make bearable the l i v e s 16 of such people." In the l i g h t of such "mystery and poetry" as we find i n this novel, we have to interpret White's statement not as a promise of the discovery of some rapturous or  sublime state, but as something akin to Katina Pavlou's  r e a l i z a t i o n that " i t i s better f i n a l l y to know" about the d i s t r e s s i n g facts of l i f e , rather than to remain i n ignorant joy.  White offers the idea that Stan's and Amy's l i v e s are  'more bearable than, say, Mrs Gage's, simply because they are aware of the condition of d u a l i t y , while she remains i n r e s t l e s s ignorance, running about i n her "enchanted car." "Mrs. Gage's own l i f e had f i l l e d the foreground.  She could  not have believed i n much else" (p.383). The Parkers' consciousness of duality forms one part of  their experience of a l i e n a t i o n .  The other part i s their  132 sense of i s o l a t i o n .  This i s expressed c h i e f l y through  Stan's and Amy's repeated discoveries that they are unable to communicate f u l l y with one another, as well as through a more general i n a b i l i t y to express themselves.  Both  factors are extensively treated i n the novel and they form perhaps the most s t r i k i n g feature of the Parkers' experience. She was ashamed of not being able to say those things she should. A l l day long she had listened to the b e l l on the cow, the laughing of a b i r d , the presence of her s i l e n t house. Her thoughts had chattered loudly enough but took refuge now. (p.31) He watched her hand, and the old sock that she held on the wooden acorn. And she drew the wool together, s i t t i n g at the centre of the night. He watched, and they were indeed the centre, but precariously, and he wanted to be c e r t a i n . This made him chew the l i t t l e stub of p e n c i l , and would have undoubtedly resulted i n something f i n a l , i f i t was to have been given to him to express himself i n his l i f e . But i t was not. Except sometimes he had formed the l i n e s of prayers, ( p . I l l ) In p a r t , the general lack of self-expression i s a product of the conservative t r a d i t i o n of the farming community. This i s comically epitomized i n the r i t u a l i s t i c scene where Ossie Peabody comes to buy a c a l f : He saw Stan walking across his land. Both men looked away. They had known each other for so long, each took i t for granted that he was recognised. Eventually they would meet and talk together, or shape words, between grunts, and s i l e n c e s , and glances, and memories of a l l that had happened to each other over the years, (p.154) The same kind of basic, conversational economy exists between Stan and  Amy:  133 H i s w i f e came t o him and s a i d , "You are g o i n g over t o Joe Peabody's." I t was a statement, not a q u e s t i o n , as she stood w i t h her hands i n the p o c k e t s o f her c a r d i g a n , w a t c h i n g her husband scrape the t o o l s . And Stan P a r k e r made no answer, i t was a n o i s e , r a t h e r , of c o n f i r m a t i o n , which she had l e a r n e d by t h i s time t o i n t e r p r e t , (p.372) But Stan p a r t i c u l a r l y f e e l s h i s i n a r t i c u l a t e n e s s as something much more p e r s o n a l and i m p o r t a n t than a mere f e a t u r e of r u r a l c o n s e r v a t i s m .  H i s t o r m e n t i n g sense of  i n a b i l i t y t o say the r i g h t t h i n g s t o Amy,  t o make her  stand what he f e e l s , becomes at l a s t a p a t h e t i c ,  fatalist  r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t "he would never r e a c h h e r " (p.460). h i s d e a t h , even h i s daughter who  underAfter  i s so much more a r t i c u l a t e  than her p a r e n t s , "remembered h i s s i l e n c e s , which she  had  f a i l e d t o p e n e t r a t e . . . but which she suspected a t t i m e s c o n t a i n e d something of w o r t h " (p. 491). The P a r k e r s t h e n , l i k e Theodora, are c o n s c i o u s of t h e i r a l i e n a t i o n i n c o n d i t i o n s of d u a l i t y and i s o l a t i o n .  Also  l i k e Theodora, but i n d i f f e r e n t ways, they each come t o ( o r , i n Amy's c a s e , approach) a f i n a l s t a t e of r e s o l u t i o n , i n which they are a b l e s i m p l y t o accept the n a t u r e of t h e i r l i v e s , and cease t o f r e t .  A l t h o u g h these f i n a l s t a t e s are  i n s c r u t a b l e i n t h a t we are not a b l e t o f e e l t h e i r  effect  f o r the P a r k e r s , t h e y are n e v e r t h e l e s s s t a t e s which are c l e a r l y d e f i n e d i n the t e x t . B r i e f l y , Stan comes to a growing r e a l i z a t i o n i n P a r t Four t h a t "peace i n i t s e l f i s d e s i r a b l e " and he i s c o n t e n t s i m p l y t o accept the n a t u r e of l i f e and d i e i n peace.  Amy  l i v e s on beyond the end of the n o v e l i n the knowledge t h a t  134 she has f i n a l l y achieved an un-possessive attitude towards someone she loves (her grandson) and that through t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p , and less intimate s o c i a l involvement, she w i l l be able to endure the conditions of l i f e .  Stan's  r e a l i z a t i o n begins when he t r i p s and nearly shoots himself. He decides to go to a Communion Service and we are t o l d , Then he hoped for God. It was very peaceful kneeling there on the carpet, once you had got down to i t , leaning on the varnished r a i l , which heat had cracked i n i t s seasons. Pease i s desirable i n i t s e l f , he said, and so i n the absence of evidence that he would receive more, he accepted t h i s with humility and gratitude, (p.432) Later, when the young evangelist leaves him s i t t i n g i n the garden, with tracts blowing away into the undergrowth, his  r e c o n c i l i a t i o n with the natural world (which i s strongly  rendered through an appearance of the tree motif considered above) leads him to see even a gob of s p i t t l e as God, and "a jewel."  As he continues to stare at t h i s humblest  manifestation of human existence, h i s simple acceptance of l i f e i s complete: A great tenderness of understanding rose i n h i s chest. Even the most obscure, the most sickening incidents of his l i f e were c l e a r . In that l i g h t . How long w i l l they leave me l i k e t h i s , he wondered, in peace and understanding? (p.496) We may not know why Stan reaches his "peace and understanding" but we do know how.  He simply ceases to worry  about trying to combat the mysteries and the anguish of life.  He accepts that l i f e " i s not intended to be easy"  (p.465), that "the objects of earth" are "incredible" and that the "blaze of sunlight" i s "intangible" (p.497).  So  135 he dies with a complete sense of resolution of care, rendered i n what we might c a l l a "psychological image": "that One, and no other f i g u r e , i s the answer to a l l sums" (p.497). Amy's resolution i s not so complete as Stan's, though i t too i s c l e a r l y defined.  Throughout the novel, Amy's  maternal i n s t i n c t s have motivated her to love and mother first,  the boy from the f l o o d , and l a t e r , Thelma and  Ray.  But she r e a l i s e s through several stages that she has f a i l e d to  schieve a valuable relationship with these c h i l d r e n ,  mainly because her love has been too possessive.  Ray  charges that she "would k i l l a person dead to see what was inside" (p.362).  And l a t e r , "she no longer  experienced  any desire to possess" Thelma, "because she had f a i l e d to do so" (p.384).  Her relationship with Ray's c h i l d  now  promises to s a t i s f y her: Amy Parker had not attempted to possess this remote c h i l d , with the consequence that he had come closer than her own. She was placid with him. She was an old woman of course. It was e a s i e r . Even i n her moments of irony, or foreboding that this l i t t l e boy would eventually do or say some cruel thing, or invest himself with some: mystery that would not be for her to solve, her well-being was not disturbed, (p.398) Her a t t i t u d e , given her d i f f e r e n t interests and personality, i s one of acceptance l i k e Stan's.  At the end, l i t t l e  i s "the grandson, E l s i e ' s boy, i n whose eyes her own  Ray obscure,  mysterious l i f e would grow transparent at l a s t . " The central theme of The Tree of Man  i s then, the  136 n a t u r e of l i f e i n t h e w o r l d o f a l i e n a t i o n , as i t i s exp r e s s e d through t h e c o n s c i o u s n e s s of two s i m p l e , i n a r t i c u l a t e people.  The P a r k e r s stand a t t h e o t h e r extreme of i n t e l l e c t u a l  l u c i d i t y from Theodora Goodman and remain m y s t i f i e d and l o c k e d i n t h e w o r l d of c y c l i c a l n a t u r e .  T h e i r s t o r y com-  plements Theodora's s t o r y t o make up a comprehensive r e n d e r i n g of  man's c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f l i f e ,  him t o see i t .  as White's v i s i o n  enables  The r e n d e r i n g i s a c h i e v e d through t h e  i n t e g r a t e d use o f mature n o v e l i s t i c t e c h n i q u e s . these n o v e l s i s f a c t i t i o u s ; the t h e m a t i c purpose,  Nothing i n  eveything i s subordinated to  t h e a r t i s t i c embodiment o f v i s i o n .  The Aunt's S t o r y and The Tree o f Man a r e White's major n a t u r a l i s t i c novels.  B e g i n n i n g w i t h Voss. i n which he was  "above a l l . . . determined  t o prove t h a t t h e A u s t r a l i a n  n o v e l i s not n e c e s s a r i l y t h e d r e a r y , dun-coloured of  offspring  j o u r n a l i s t i c r e a l i s m , " White's v i s i o n i s expressed i n t h e  l a r g e symbolic forms o f t h e l a t e r p e r i o d . Mandala a fundamental  Even i n The S o l i d  symbolic c o n c e p t i o n u n d e r l i e s t h e  apparently n a t u r a l i s t i c surface;  t h e c h a r a c t e r s embody  J u n g i a n concepts o f p e r s o n a l i t y and become complementary symbols of u n i v e r s a l man. Another d i f f e r e n c e between t h e e a r l i e r n o v e l s and t h e t h r e e l a t e r ones i s t h a t t h e l a t t e r show an i n c r e a s i n g l y b i t t e r attitude to society.  I n The S o l i d Mandala t h e h a r s h  p r e s e n t a t i o n o f man's f r a i l t y , t h e c o n c e n t r a t i o n on a s p e c t s of  h a t r e d and d e s t r u c t i v e n e s s , and t h e h o r r o r scene a t t h e  end where one dog i s s w a l l o w i n g lumps o f Waldo's body and the o t h e r i s chewing a t h i s g e n i t a l s , a l l bespeak a mind  137 which has lost some of the balance which controls the v i s i o n of the two novels of the middle period.  Elements of mis-  anthropy infect the a r t . The direct l i n e of continuation from the theme of The Tree of Man i s not, therefore, i n the subsequent novels; but we find i t i n several of the short stories collected i n The Burnt Ones.  In p a r t i c u l a r , the stores "Dead Roses,"  "Clay" and "The Letters" are e s s e n t i a l l y images of "the burnt ones," those who because they are conscious of a l i e n ation, l i v e i n an anguished search for peace.  138 CHAPTER IV THE  PROBLEM OF SYMBOLISM IN THE  LATER NOVELS  Of the seven p u b l i s h e d n o v e l s , a major d i v i s i o n can made between the f i r s t f o u r and the l a s t t h r e e .  be  This d i v i s i o n  i s e v i d e n t i n a number of f a c t o r s which are a l l r e l a t e d t o a b a s i c t h e m a t i c development.  White's a r t i s t i c v i s i o n remains  more o r l e s s c o n s t a n t throughout  the works - (though i t does  a c q u i r e c e r t a i n a s p e c t s of m a t u r i t y a f t e r The L i v i n g and Dead, as we have s e e n ) . s i m p l y r e n d e r the v i s i o n . metaphysics  But the l a t e r n o v e l s do more than B e g i n n i n g w i t h Voss. White t u r n s t o  i n what appears t o be an attempts t o d i s c o v e r some  form of f a i t h w i t h which t o r e s i s t the anguish of the of  the  alienation.  consciousness  He t u r n s away from the n a t u r a l i s t i c b a s i s of the  f i r s t f o u r n o v e l s i n o r d e r t o e x p l o r e the p o s s i b i l i t y of t r a n s cending the mind and the body through a s p i r i t u a l communion between those who The of  are aware of the d e s i r e f o r such  transcendence.  s u g g e s t i v e r e n d e r i n g ( i t i s never a d i d a c t i c p r e s e n t a t i o n ) t h i s communion o r f e l l o w s h i p of i l l u m i n a t i appears t o be the  main purpose f o r which White u s e s the symbolic mode i n Voss and R i d e r s . The f e l l o w s h i p i s based on a g e n e r a l s i m i l a r i t y of v i s i o n such as e x i s t e d between Theodora and M o r a ' i t i s — " c o m p a t r i o t s i n the c o u n t r y of the bones."  I t i s r e p r e s e n t e d i n Voss.  by the s y m b o l i c , i m a g i n a r y r e l a t i o n s h i p s between Voss and  chiefly Laura,  and i n R i d e r s , c h i e f l y by the symbol of the c h a r i o t . * " Voss and R i d e r s are a m b i t i o u s n o v e l s o f superb performance and i n t r i c a t e theme.  technical  For many r e a d e r s , the a c h i e v e d  form alone i s enough t o make these n o v e l s e x t r e m e l y v a l u a b l e :  139 Flawed and i m p e r f e c t though i t i s , R i d e r s i n the Chariot: n o n e t h e l e s s remains, i n Manfred Mackenzie's p h r a s e , "a w o n d e r f u l t h i n g " , w o n d e r f u l both f o r the a u t h e n t i c i t y w i t h which the i n d i v i d u a l segments i n i t s f a n t a s t i c s t r u c t u r e are r e n d e r e d , and f o r the splendour and o r i g i n a l i t y of i t s b a s i c d e s i g n . ^ And i t i s t r u e t h a t whatever may  be our response t o and  i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the c e n t r a l themes, t h e r e are s u f f i c i e n t i n d i v i d u a l elements of i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c b r i l l i a n c e as w e l l as s a t i r i c f o r c e , t o c a l l f o r t h h i g h p r a i s e .  Nevertheless,  the e s s e n t i a l meaning of these n o v e l s , t h e i r o v e r a l l t h e m a t i c  3 c o n c e p t i o n as "meta-novels" cannot be i g n o r e d .  Even i f we  choose t o l i m i t our c r i t i c a l responses t o e x t e n s i o n s of elements from the e a r l i e r n o v e l s (such as the r e n d e r i n g of L a u r a as a T h e o d o r a - f i g u r e , or of Mrs Godbold as a "mute v i s i o n a r y " ; l i k e Stan P a r k e r ) , we are s t i l l not coming t o terms w i t h the c e n t r a l e f f e c t s of these works.  It i s after  a l l r e l a t i o n s h i p s which the s y m b o l i c frameworks p r e s e n t , and the meaning of t h e s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s i s p r o b l e m a t i c a l . V a r i o u s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s have been t e n t a t i v e l y suggested, but they are m o s t l y concerned w i t h the a r t i s t i c c o n v e n t i o n s - the symbolism--through which the r e l a t i o n s h i p s are p r e s e n t e d , and not w i t h t h e i r meaning.  At any r a t e no-one has y e t  e x p l a i n e d t h i s meaning at a l l s a t i s f a c t o r i l y , and most c r i t i c s are p a t e n t l y b e w i l d e r e d and even a l i t t l e annoyed: There i s something, t a i n t e d about a c r e a t i v e h a b i t which i n s i s t s on an a l l e g o r i c a l r e a d i n g and then b l u r s the meaning i t p o i n t s t o . . . . There are dangers i n p r e s e n t i n g a h e r o i c theme i n a s y m b o l i s t e mode; and i n Voss t h e r e i s a mandarin q u a l i t y which i s r e f r e s h i n g l y m i s s i n g from The Tree of Man.^  140 The problem i s whether an e q u i v o c a l assessment o f t h e e v e n t s , encouraged by t h e a u t h o r , does n o t tend t o d i s i n t e g r a t e what he has c r e a t e d : and whether t h e k i n d o f i n t e r r o g a t i o n of t h e a u t h o r ' s i n t e n t i o n which the book i n v i t e s i s a d e q u a t e l y r e c e i v e d when t h e r e a d e r a c c e p t s t h e i n v i t a t i o n and p r e s s e s t h e i n q u i r y . 5 In The S o l i d Mandala White r e t u r n s from h i s m e t a p h y s i c a l j o u r n e y , n o t q u i t e t o n a t u r a l i s m , but t o a symbolic r e n d e r i n g based on p s y c h o l o g i c a l r e a l i s m , a c c o r d i n g t o J u n g i a n c o n c e p t s . In t h i s l a t e s t n o v e l , the two p r i n c i p a l c h a r a c t e r s embody the J u n g i a n concepts of " l o g o s " and " e r o s "  as complementary  a s p e c t s o f human p e r s o n a l i t y , and t h i s b a s i c dichotomy i s r e f l e c t e d a l s o i n t h e minor c h a r a c t e r s . White shows, through the outcome o f t h e p l o t , t h a t communication  i s impossible  between people i n whom d i f f e r e n t a s p e c t s p r e v a i l . A r t h u r , eros-dominated,  and Waldo, logos-dominated,  permanent a n t i p a t h y which ends i n murder.) though communication  (Thus are i n  Furthermore,  i s p o s s i b l e between two " e r o t i c " o r two  " l o g i s t i c " p e o p l e , because t h e i r i n t e r e s t s and m e n t a l i t i e s are s i m i l a r , i t i s only i n a p u r e l y " e r o t i c " r e l a t i o n s h i p t h a t any happiness r e s u l t s from t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p . far  I n so  as t h e two b r o t h e r s r e p r e s e n t two a s p e c t s of one i n d i v i d u a l ,  The S o l i d Mandala i s a symbolic n o v e l r e v e a l i n g the t r a g i c i n c o n g r u i t y i n t h e make-up of human p e r s o n a l i t y :  one i s  e i t h e r s t u p i d and happy ( w i t h one's own p s y c h o l o g i c a l k i n ) , or i n t e l l i g e n t and m i s e r a b l e , depending  on whether one i s  predominantly e r o t i c or predominantly l o g i s t i c .  I n con-  j u n c t i o n , w i t h i n t h e i n d i v i d u a l and t h e r a c e , t h e two a s p e c t s war a g a i n s t one another and produce d e s t r u c t i v e h a t r e d .  141 In v i e w of the e x t e n t t o which White's e a r l i e r are s u c c e s s f u l i n i n t e g r a t i n g themes and t e c h n i q u e s coherent  novels to create  and v a l u a b l e r e n d e r i n g s of h i s v i s i o n , t h e r e i s  something suspect about c r i t i c i s m which w r i t e s o f f the l a t e r n o v e l s as t h e m a t i c a l l y c o r r u p t .  For t h i s r e a s o n , and because  we are admonished by the f a c t t h a t p r e v i o u s White c r i t i c i s m has so o f t e n been wide of the mark, i t i s perhaps w i s e r t o suspend judgment on the l a t e r p e r i o d u n t i l some c r i t i c  has  a n a l y s e d i t s p r i n c i p a l f e a t u r e s i n the way I have t r i e d t o do f o r t h e e a r l i e r .  However, i t may  be worth s u g g e s t i n g f o r  f u t u r e c r i t i c s , t h a t Voss and R i d e r s need i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i n the l i g h t of the symbolic f u n c t i o n a c h i e v e d i n The Mandala.  We should not u n d e r e s t i m a t e  Solid  White's c a p a c i t y f o r  o r i g i n a l i t y , and t h e r e i s c e r t a i n l y a case t o be made f o r v i e w i n g h i s l a t e r work i n terms of modern p s y c h o l o g i c a l thought.  We have a l r e a d y seen how t h e i n t e r p l a y of the  H o l s t i u s f i g u r e and Theodora, a t t h e end of The Aunt's S t o r y , enabled White t o c r e a t e a symbolic p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of Theodora's conscious s t a t e .  And the c h i e f c h a r a c t e r s i n The  S o l i d Mandala a r e c o n s i s t e n t l y r e a l i s e d as complementary a s p e c t s of a s i n g l e , a r c h e t y p a l p e r s o n a l i t y .  And we  recall  the symbolic e f f e c t of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the Young Man and h i s anima i n The Ham F u n e r a l .  S i m i l a r l y , i t might  be p o s s i b l e t o accept the p r i n c i p a l c h a r a c t e r s of Voss and R i d e r s as pure symbols of d i f f e r e n t a s p e c t s of p e r s o n a l i t y , of d i f f e r e n t m o t i v a t i o n a l f o r c e s (Cp. the f o u r Tempters of E l i o t ' s Murder i n the C a t h e d r a l ) , w i t h i n the e n t i t i e s of i n d i v i d u a l (archetypal) p e r s o n a l i t i e s , represented n o v e l as a whole.  by each  Such a r e a d i n g might enable us t o i n t e r -  p r e t these n o v e l s as f u r t h e r i n t e g r a t e d r e n d e r i n g s , i n a  142 p l a n e more b o l d l y symbolic than has been r e c o g n i s e d , o f White's v i s i o n , r a t h e r than attempts p o s s i b i l i t y of a metaphysical  t o suggest the  s o l u t i o n t o t h e problem o f  i s o l a t i o n which i s i n h e r e n t i n the s t a t e o f a l i e n a t i o n . Thus we should see a l l t h e main c h a r a c t e r s as a s p e c t s of o u r s e l v e s , r a t h e r than "a t i n y e l i t e , whose members r e c o g n i s e one another  through  some s i x t h sense"P  Indeed, i t may  be t h a t White's use o f a l a r g e symbolic mode i n these n o v e l s i n an u n r e c o g n i s e d  attempt  t h a t f i n a l s t a t e o f acceptance i s p r e s e n t e d as i n s c r u t a b l e .  later  t o r e n d e r more c o n c r e t e l y ,  which, i n Theodora and Stan, Such a t l e a s t , i s t h e i n t e r e s t i n g  s u g g e s t i o n which we may d e r i v e from C a s s i r e r ' s comments on symbolism and freedom: The "freedom" which man i s a b l e t o wrest f o r h i m s e l f does not i m p l y t h a t he has removed h i m s e l f from n a t u r e , from her b e i n g and o p e r a t i o n s . He cannot o v e r t u r n o r break through the o r g a n i c l i m i t s which a r e f i x e d f o r him j u s t as f o r any o t h e r l i v i n g b e i n g . But w i t h i n those l i m i t s , indeed by means o f them, he f a s h i o n s a b r e a d t h and s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y of movement which i s a c c e s s i b l e and a t t a i n a b l e o n l y by him. U e x k u l l once remarked t h a t the f o r m a l s t r u c t u r e (Bauplan) o f each l i v i n g t h i n g , and hence t h e d e t e r m i n a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p between i t s s t i m u l u s w o r l d and i t s f u n c t i o n a l w o r l d , e n c l o s e s t h i s being as f i r m l y as t h e w a l l s o f a p r i s o n . Nor does t h e human b e i n g escape t h i s p r i s o n by d e s t r o y i n g i t s w a l l s ; he escapes o n l y by becoming c o n s c i o u s o f them. Here t h e H e g e l i a n statement h o l d s g o o d — t h a t he who knows about a l i m i t a t i o n i s a l r e a d y free of i t . T h i s becoming aware i s t h e b e g i n n i n g and end, t h e a l p h a and omega, o f human freedom. Knowing and t a k i n g account o f n e c e s s i t y i s t h e genuine p r o c e s s of l i b e r a t i o n which " s p i r i t " , i n c o n t r a d i s t i n c t i o n t o " n a t u r e " , has brought t o p e r f e c t i o n . The v a r i o u s symbolic forms--myth, language, a r t , and s c i e n c e - - c o n s t i t u t e the i n d i s p e n s i b l e p r e c o n d i t i o n f o r t h i s p r o c e s s . They a r e the t r u e m e d i a — w h i c h man h i m s e l f has c r e a t e d — b y v i r t u e o f which he has been a b l e t o s e p a r a t e h i m s e l f from the w o r l d , and i n t h i s very s e p a r a t i o n , t o bind himself a l l the c l o s e r to i t . ^  143 A l t h o u g h G a s s i r e r i s u s i n g t h e word "symbol" here more basically  than i s i m p l i e d when we c a l l Voss and R i d e r s  s y m b o l i c , t h e r e l e v a n c e o f t h i s statement i s c l e a r .  It  c o u l d be argued t h a t i n h i s l a t e r n o v e l s , White a c h i e v e s "the genuine p r o c e s s o f l i b e r a t i o n which contradistinction  'spirit', i n  t o ' n a t u r e ' , has brought t o p e r f e c t i o n " ,  and t h a t t h i s p r o c e s s i s rendered through a r a d i c a l l y symbolic form, i n k e e p i n g w i t h the a m b i t i o u s v e n t u r e freedom, which i s c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f l i m i t a t i o n .  into  But t h i s i s  o n l y s p e c u l a t i o n , and f o r t h e p r e s e n t t h e symbolic f u n c t i o n of the l a t e r n o v e l s remains t o be u n d e r s t o o d and a p p r e c i a t e d , i f indeed i t i s n o t the major f l a w t h a t i t appears t o be.  144  FOOTNOTES  (CHAPTER I )  1 P r i n c i p l e s of L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m (New York, p.33.  1925),  2 E d i t o r i a l n o t e , M e a n i i n . XV  (1956),  223.  3 Note the r e f s . t o White i n e.g. "The Legend and the L o n e l i n e s s , " O v e r l a n d . No. 23 (1962), 33-38. See a l s o Roger F r y ' s r e v i e w of Voss. A u s t r a l i a n L e t t e r s . I (1958), 40-41. 4 T.G.Rosenthal, "White Heat," A u s t r a l i a n Book Review. IV (November, 1964), 6. 5  See e.g. C o l i n R o d e r i c k , " R i d e r s i n the C h a r i o t : An E x p o s i t i o n , " S o u t h e r l y . X X I I (1962), 62-77, where the n o v e l i s t r e a t e d as "a f i c t i o n a l essay i n . J e w i s h m y s t i c i s m " and i s regarded as a p o s s i b l e t e s t i m o n y of c o n v e r s i o n , on White's p a r t . 6 See e.g. John Coburn, "The M e t a p h y s i c s of Voss," 20th C e n t u r y . X V I I I (1964), on the r e l a t i o n of Voss t o Shopenhauer. 7 S y l v i a G z e l l , "Themes and Imagery i n Voss and R i d e r s i n the C h a r i o t . " A u s t r a l i a n L i t e r a r y S t u d i e s . I I (1965), 180-195. 8  9  On the o t h e r hand, the d e v e l o p i n g s t r a i n of s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m i n the n o v e l s , e s p e c i a l l y the l a t e r ones, does d i s p l a y a more or l e s s s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d argument. But i t i s o n l y a minor purpose of the works as a whole, and as such, i s g i v e n o n l y s c a n t treatment i n t h i s study. I n u s i n g the term " n a t u r a l i s m " ( p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t h e f i r s t and l a s t c h a p t e r s of t h i s t h e s i s ) , I do not w i s h t o l i n k White w i t h t h e d e t e r m i n i s t i c p h i l o s o p h y of such p e o p l e as D r e i s e r and N o r r i s . I use " n a t u r a l i s m " - and u n f o r t u n a t e l y t h e r e seems t o be no more s u i t a b l e t e r m — t o denote a t e c h n i q u e of mimetic a r t which l i m i t s i t s s u b j e c t - m a t t e r t o e x p e r i e n c e w i t h i n the n a t u r a l  145 w o r l d , and does not attempt t o f i n d s y m b o l i c e q u i v a l e n t s f o r s u p e r n a t u r a l e x p e r i e n c e . T h i s i s the p h i l o s o p h i c a l meaning of the term a c c o r d i n g t o the O.E.D.: "A v i e w of the w o r l d and of man's r e l a t i o n t o i t , i n which o n l y the o p e r a t i o n of n a t u r a l ( a s opposed t o s u p e r n a t u r a l o r s p i r i t u a l ) laws and f o r c e s i s a d m i t t e d or assumed." White's e a r l i e r n o v e l s d i s p l a y such a v i e w . However, the t e c h n i q u e of n a t u r a l i s m does not e x c l u d e the use of symbols as a means o f i n t e r p r e t i n g or l i n k i n g e x p e r i e n c e s . 10 See h i s The L o g i c of the H u m a n i t i e s , t r a n s . C l a r e n c e Smith Howe (New Haven, 1960), esp. pp.41-85. 11 (London, 1927), and ( T o r o n t o , 1963), r e s p e c t i v e l y . T i n d a l l (see f o o t n o t e 12 below) r e f e r s f r e q u e n t l y t o Brown and F o r s t e r , and t h e i r terms "rhythm" and "pattern". 12 W i l l i a m York T i n d a l l , The L i t e r a r y Symbol ( B l o o m i n g t o n , 1955), p.12. 13 T i n d a l l , p.228. 14 I t i s worth n o t i n g t h a t A.E.Housman (whose i n f l u e n c e on White i s most e v i d e n t i n The Tree of Man) uses t h e symbol of bones i n a manner c l o s e l y r e l a t e d t o White's usage. See "The Immortal P a r t , " i n A S h r o p s h i r e Lad (London, 1896.) I am g r a t e f u l t o Dr. E l l i o t t B. Gose J r . f o r p o i n t i n g t h i s out t o me. 15 P a t r i c k White, "The P r o d i g a l Son," A u s t r a l i a n L e t t e r s . I ( 1 9 5 8 ) , 39. 16 Loc. c i t . 17 H a r r y P. H e s e l t i n e , " P a t r i c k White's S t y l e , " Quadrant. V I I ( 1 9 6 3 ) , 62. 18 19  Loc. c i t . "The M e t a p h y s i c a l P o e t s , " The Sacred Wood (London, 1921).  146  David D a i c h e s , The Novel and the Modern World ( C h i c a g o , 1960 r e v . e d n . ) , pp. 190-191. E . M . F o r s t e r , A s p e c t s of the Novel (Harmondsworth, 1962), p. 165.  147 FOOTNOTES  (CHAPTER II  P a r t 1)  1 B o r i s F o r d ( e d . ) , The P e l i c a n Guide t o E n g l i s h L i t e r a t u r e . Vol., VII: The Modern Age. (Harmondsworth, 1963), p.70. 2 F o r the use of t h i s term and the terms "moral i m a g i n a t i o n " see L i o n e l T r i l l i n g , The L i b e r a l I m a g i n a t i o n (New York, 1960), pp. 84-88, 215. B r i e f l y , m o r a l r e a l i s m i s a form of s y m p a t h e t i c a p p r e c i a t i o n of the m u l t i p l i c i t y of human s i t u a t i o n s and a f f a i r s . Trilling i l l u s t r a t e s w i t h a s t r i k i n g image: the r e c o g n i t i o n which comes t o a l o v i n g f a t h e r , who has observed the behaviour of h i s many c h i l d r e n , o f the e n d l e s s v a r i e t y of p o s s i b l e human a c t i v i t y and m o t i v a t i o n . The moral i m a g i n a t i o n i s the f a c u l t y man e x e r c i s e s i n s e e k i n g v a l u e s through moral r e a l i s m . T r i l l i n g sees the n o v e l of the p a s t two c e n t u r i e s as "the most e f f e c t i v e agent of the m o r a l i m a g i n a t i o n . " Through use of the m o r a l i m a g i n a t i o n , i n r e a d i n g a n o v e l , we do more than merely see o r admit another p e r s o n ' s p o i n t o f v i e w . We become aware o f s t a t e s of mind and f e e l i n g , of which we had p r e v i o u s l y been i g n o r a n t , i n p a r t or w h o l l y . Our c o n s c i o u s n e s s , our e x p e r i e n c e of l i f e may thus be s i g n i f i c a n t l y extended. 3 Page r e f s . throughout r e f e r t o edns. l i s t e d i n the Bibliography. 4 E s p e c i a l l y y e l l o w , b l u e , p i n k , b l a c k : Happy V a l l e y , pp. 137 f f . , The Aunt's S t o r y , pp. 71, 74, 303. 5 See Happy V a l l e y pp. 20, 153, R i d e r s p.  265  6 Happy V a l l e y p. 127, The Aunt's S t o r y  p.27  7 Happy V a l l e y p. 139, Voss p.417. 8 9  G e o f f r e y Dutton ( e d . ) , The L i t e r a t u r e of A u s t r a l i a (Ringwood: A u s t r a l i a , 1964), p. 414. R a s s e l a s Chapter 2.  148 10 Compare Ruth's e x p e r i e n c e  i n R i d e r s p. 265.  11 The A u n t s S t o r y 1  epigraph.  12 We n o t i c e , i n p a s s i n g how the Schumann which f i r s t e n a b l e s them t o communicate has now y i e l d e d p l a c e t o Chopin i n whom they presumably f i n d a more p e r s o n a l i d i o m as the means of mutual u n d e r s t a n d i n g . 13 V o l . XXXV, 602-609. 14 T . S . E l i o t , ''Preludes,'* C o l l e c t e d Poems 1909-1962 (London, 1964), p.23. 15 See f n . 2 above.  149  FOOTNOTES  (CHAPTER I I  Part  2)  1 G e o f f r e y Dutton ( e d . ) , The L i t e r a t u r e of A u s t r a l i a (Ringwood: A u s t r a l i a , 1964), p.414. 2 R . F . B r i s s e n d e n , P a t r i c k White, B r i t i s h C o u n c i l : W r i t e r s and t h e i r Work S e r i e s (London, 1966), p.18. 3 The  L i t e r a t u r e of A u s t r a l i a ,  p.415  4 E.g. He heard her v o i c e d a r k l y down the f u n n e l of the telephone. He went over each l i t t l e d e t a i l of p h r a s e , i n what had become a m i s t , h i s mind was a m i s t i n which things j o s t l e d unexpectedly. She had l e f t him w i t h the r e c e i v e r i n h i s hands. He looked a t t h e s e . They were b l u n t , r e d d i s h . They r e t u r n e d a r e c e i v e r c a r e f u l l y because unaccustomed to the a c t , the shape. But he c o u l d see her t h i n mouth w o r k i n g , shaping on words i n the f u n n e l of a t e l e p h o n e . T a l k i n g on the telephone was l i k e h a v i n g your mouth up a g a i n s t another p e r s o n ' s mouth. I t made him gulp down words l i k e water r u n n i n g down the s i n k . (p.191) 5 See e s p e c i a l l y Chapter 8 of A s p e c t s of the  Novel.  6 A s p e c t s of the N o v e l , pp.  34,  48.  7 (Harmondsworth, 1964), p.126. 8 White uses the d e v i c e d i f f e r e n t l y from Moore. White's p l o t i s a f l a s h b a c k r e t u r n i n g t o the i d e n t i c a l moment, whereas Moore's i s a movement forward i n time, r e t u r n i n g to the i d e n t i c a l p l a c e . 9 We n o t i c e how i n The Ham F u n e r a l , White's n e x t work, The Young Man opens the p l a y w i t h the words " I have j u s t woken, i t seems" (see p.59 below), which l e a d s us t o suspect t h a t White may be d e l i b e r a t e l y drawing a t t e n t i o n to the developmental i n t e r - r e l a t i o n of h i s works. See Loder's a r t i c l e on The Ham F u n e r a l and i t s p l a c e i n White's development ( l i s t e d i n the B i b l i o g r a p h y ) .  150 FOOTNOTES  (CHAPTER I I I P a r t  1)  1 L i s t e d i n W i l l i a m Rose Benet, The Reader's E n c y c l o p e d i a (New York, 1965), under White. 2 See the B i b l i o g r a p h y . 3 4  C. F. F o r s t e r on War p. 170. Chapter XXXVI.  and Peace, A s p e c t s of the N o v e l ,  151 FOOTNOTES  (CHAPTER I I I Part 2)  1 Patrick White, "The Prodigal Son," Australian L e t t e r s , I (1958), 39. 2 R.F.Brissenden, "Patrick White," Meanjin, XVIII (1959), 420. 3 4 5 6  G.A.Wilkes, "The Tree of Man".Southerly, XXV (1965), 26. Brissenden, op. c i t . , 412. A.D.Hope, "The L i t e r a r y Pattern i n A u s t r a l i a , " UTQ, XXVI (1957), 124. Vincent Buckley, "Patrick White and h i s Epic," Australian Literary C r i t i c i s m ed. Grahame Johnston. (Melbourne, 1962), p.197.  7 Wilkes, op. c i t . , 28. 8  Buckley, Australian L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m , p. 197.  9 Wilkes, op. c i t . , 31. 10  Buckley, The Literature of A u s t r a l i a , p. 421. 11 12  Brissenden, Patrick White, p.26. Australian L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m , p. v i i .  13 Buckley, Australian L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m , pp. 192-193. 14 Heseltine, "Patrick White»s Style," 74. 15 Buckley, Australian L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m , p.194 and Brissenden, Patrick White, p.27. 16  Patrick White, "The Prodigal Son," Australian Letters, I (1958), 39.  152 FOOTNOTES  (CHAPTER IV)  1 See the v a r i o u s e x p o s i t i o n s of Voss and R i d e r s i n the B i b l i o g r a p h y .  listed  2 B r i s s e n d e n , P a t r i c k White,  p.38.  3 James McAuley, "The G o t h i c Splendours of Voss." S o u t h e r l y . XXV (1965), 3A. 4 B u c k l e y , The L i t e r a t u r e  of A u s t r a l i a , p.424.  5 McAuley,  44.  6 7  See Psyche & Symbol, ed. V i o l e t S. de L a s z l o (New 1958), pp. 9-22.  York,  B u c k l e y , The L i t e r a t u r e of A u s t r a l i a , p.424. 8 The L o g i c of the H u m a n i t i e s (New Haven, 1960),  p.74.  153 BIBLIOGRAPHY I PATRICK WHITE 1. N o v e l s Happy V a l l e y .  London, 1939.  The L i v i n g and t h e Dead. London, 1962 ( f i r s t London, 1941). The Aunt's S t o r y . London, 1958. ( f i r s t London, 1948).  published  published  The Tree o f Man. London, 1956 ( f i r s t p u b l i s h e d New York, 1955). Voss. New York, 1957. R i d e r s i n t h e C h a r i o t . London, 1961. The S o l i d Mandala.  New York, 1966  2. Short S t o r i e s "The T w i t c h i n g C o l o n e l , " London Mercury. XXXVI ( A p r i l , 1937), 602-609. " C o c o t t e , " H o r i z o n . I (May, 1940), 364-366. The Burnt Ones.  London, 1964  3. P o e t r y "Meeting A g a i n , " "Ploughman," London Mercury. XXX (June, 1934), 104-105. The Ploughman and Other Poems, i l l u s t r . Sydney, 1935.  L.R.Davies.  "When Thoughts a r e S t i l l and F o r m l e s s , " " R a i n i n Summer," An A n t h o l o g y o f A u s t r a l i a n Verse» ed. George Mackaness. Sydney & London, 1952. ( F i r s t p u b l i s h e d as P o e t s o f A u s t r a l i a . London, 1946 [janexpanded ednT] .) 4. P l a y s Four P l a y s . London, 1965. 5. A u t o b i o g r a p h y "The P r o d i g a l Son," A u s t r a l i a n L e t t e r s . I (1958), 37-40.  154 II  SEPARATE PUBLICATIONS ABOUT PATRICK WHITE  B r i s s e n d e n , R.F. P a t r i c k White. London, 1966. ( B r i t i s h C o u n c i l : W r i t e r s and t h e i r Work S e r i e s . ) D u t t o n , G e o f f r e y . P a t r i c k White ( 3 r d edn. r e v . and e n l . ) . Melbourne, 1963. ( A u s t r a l i a n W r i t e r s and t h e i r Work S e r i e s . ) W i l k e s , G.A., ed. S o u t h e r l y : P a t r i c k White Number. XXV, 1 (1965). T i t l e s o f a r t i c l e s i n d i v i d u a l l y l i s t e d i n I I I below . I l l ARTICLES ABOUT WHITE IN PERIODICALS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS (Items marked "R" a r e r e v i e w s of new p u b l i c a t i o n s o r r e - p u b l i c a t i o n s , i n c l u d e d i n t h i s B i b l i o g r a p h y because they make p o i n t s n o t found e l s e w h e r e ) . Arousseau, M a r c e l . "Odi Profanum V u l g u s : P a t r i c k White's R i d e r s i n t h e C h a r i o t , ' ' M e a n j i n , XXI (1962), 29-31. (R) "The i d e n t i t y o f Voss," M e a n j i n , X V I I  (1958),85-87.  " A t t e m p t i n g t h e I n f i n i t e , " TLS, No. 3120, December 15, 1961, 889-891. Barnard, M a r j o r i e . "The Four Novels o f P a t r i c k M e a n j i n . XV (1956), 156-170.  White,"  "Theodora A g a i n , " S o u t h e r l y . XX (1959), 51-55. (R) B r a d l e y , D a v i d . " A u s t r a l i a , Through t h e L o o k i n g - G l a s s , " O v e r l a n d , No. 23 (1962), 41-45. B r i s s e n d e n , R.F. " P a t r i c k White," M e a n j i n , X V I I I (1959), 410-425. "The P l a y s o f P a t r i c k White," M e a n j i n , X X I I I (1964), 243-256. (R)  155 B u c k l e y , V i n c e n t . " P a t r i c k White and h i s E p i c , " 20th C e n t u r y . X I I (1958), 239-252. A l s o A u s t r a l i a n L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m , ed. Grahame J o h n s t o n . Melbourne, 1962. . »»The Novels of P a t r i c k White," The L i t e r a t u r e o f A u s t r a l i a , ed. G e o f f r e y Dutton. Ringwood: A u s t r a l i a , 1964, pp. 413-426. Burgess, O.N. " P a t r i c k White, h i s C r i t i c s and Laura T r e v e l y a n , " A u s t r a l i a n Q u a r t e r l y . XXXVI (1961), 49-57. Burrows, J . F . "The Short S t o r i e s of P a t r i c k White," S o u t h e r l y XXIV (1964), 116-125. (R) "Archetypes & S t e r e o t y p e s : R i d e r s i n t h e C h a r i o t . " S o u t h e r l y XXV (1965), 46-68. C o v e l l , Roger. " P a t r i c k White's P l a y s , " Quadrant. V I I I 7-12. (R) Donaldson,  (1964),  I a n . "Return t o A b y s s i n i a , " E I C , (1964), 210-214.  D u t t o n , G e o f f r e y . "The Novels o f P a t r i c k White," C r i t i q u e . V I , 3 (1963), 7-28. Edwards, A l l a n . " R i d e r s i n t h e C h a r i o t : A Note on t h e T i t l e , " W e s t e r l y . I (1962), 108-110. G z e l l , S y l v i a . "Themes and Imagery i n Voss and R i d e r s i n t h e C h a r i o t , " A u s t r a l i a n L i t e r a r y S t u d i e s , I (1964), 180-195. H e r r i n g , Thelma. "Odyssey o f a S p i n s t e r : A Study o f The A u n t s S t o r y , " S o u t h e r l y , XXV (1965), 6-22. 1  H e s e l t i n e , H.P. " F i c t i o n C h r o n i c l e , " M e a n j i n , XX (1961), 474-491. (R) " P a t r i c k White's S t y l e , " Quadrant, V I I (1963)j 61-74. H e t h e r i n g t o n , John. 42 Faces. Melbourne, c h a p t e r on White.)  1962.* ( I n c l u d e s a  Hughes, Ted. " P a t r i c k White's Voss." L i s t e n e r , F e b r u a r y 6, 1964, 229-230. (R)  156 L i n d s a y , J a c k . "The S t o r i e s of P a t r i c k White," X X I I I (1964), 372-376. (R)  Meanjin.  Loder, E l i z a b e t h . "The Ham F u n e r a l and i t s P l ace i n t h e Development of P a t r i c k White," S o u t h e r l y . X X I I I (1963), 78-91. Mackenzie, Manfred. " P a t r i c k White's L a t e r N o v e l s : A G e n e r i c Reading," Southern Review, I , 3 (1965), 5-17. M a r t i n , D a v i d . "Among the Bones," 52-58.  M e a n j i n . X V I I I (1959),  Mather, Rodney. "Voss," Melbourne C r i t i c a l Review, VI (1963), 93-101. Mc A u l e y , James.  Editorial,  Quadrant, I I , 4 (1958),  . ti-rhe G o t h i c S p l e n d o u r s : P a t r i c k White's S o u t h e r l y . XXV (1965), 34-44. Mc L a r e n , John. "The Image of R e a l i t y i n Our O v e r l a n d . No. 27-28 (1963), 43-47.  Voss."  Writing,"  "A Note on P a t r i c k White," M e a n j i n . XV (1956), N a i p a u l , V.S. 513.  4-5.  223.  " A u s t r a l i a D e s e r t a , " Spec.. October 16,  1964  O l i v e r , H.J. " P a t r i c k White's S i g n i f i c a n t J o u r n e y , " S o u t h e r l y . XIX (1958), 46-49. (R) "The Expanding 168-170. (R)  Novel," Southerly, XVII  (1956),  P h i l l i p s , A.A. " P a t r i c k White and the A l g e b r a i c Symbol," M e a n j i n . XXIV (1965), 455-461. P o t t e r , Nancy A . J . " P a t r i c k White's Minor S a i n t s , " V, 4 (1964), 9-19. " P u t t i n g the Theatre a c r o s s i n A u s t r a l i a , " Times J u l y 15, 1963, 14.  REL,  (London),  157  R o d e r i c k , C o l i n . " R i d e r s i n t h e C h a r i o t : An S o u t h e r l y . X X I I (1962), 62-77.  Exposition,"  Rorke, John. " P a t r i c k White and t h e C r i t i c s , " S o u t h e r l y . XX (1959), 66-74. S t e r n , James. " P a t r i c k White: The Country o f t h e Mind," London Magazine. V, 6 (1958), 49-56. T a s k e r , John. "Notes on The Ham F u n e r a l . " (1964), 299-302. (R)  Meaniin. XXIII  T a y l o r , Andrew. " P a t r i c k White's Short S t o r i e s , " O v e r l a n d , No. 31 (March, 1965), 17-19. (R) Thompson, John. " A u s t r a l i a ' s White P o l i c y , " A u s t r a l i a n I (1958), 42-45.  Letters,  Turner, I a n . "Legend i n t o Myth," O v e r l a n d . No. 23 (1962) 39-40. W a l t e r s , Margaret. " P a t r i c k White," New L e f t Review, No. 18 (1963), 37-50. W i l k e s , G.A. " P a t r i c k White's The Tree o f Man," S o u t h e r l y , XXV (1965), 23-33. Wood, P e t e r . "Moral C o m p l e x i t y i n P a t r i c k White's M e a n j i n , XXI (1962), 21-28.  IV  Novels,"  GENERAL  Brown, E.K. Rhythm i n t h e N o v e l . T o r o n t o , 1950. C a s s i r e r , E r n s t . The L o g i c of t h e H u m a n i t i e s , t r a n s . C l a r e n c e Smith Howe. New Haven, 1960. Coleman, P e t e r , ed. A u s t r a l i a n C i v i l i s a t i o n : A Symposium. Melbourne, 1962.  158  Daiches, D a v i d . The Novel and t h e Modern World. 1960 ( r e v i s e d edn.).  Chicago,  D u t t o n , G e o f f r e y , ed, The L i t e r a t u r e A u s t r a l i a , 1964.  of A u s t r a l i a . Ringwood:  Forster,  Harmondsworth, 1962.  E.M.  A s p e c t s o f the N o v e l .  H o l l i s , C h r i s t o p h e r . " A r t e t L i t t e r a t u r e en A u s t r a l i e , " t r a n s . M a r c e l l e S i b o n . Le T a b l e Ronde. No. 183 (1963), 100-104. Hope, A.D. "The L i t e r a r y P a t t e r n i n A u s t r a l i a , " UTQ,, XXVI (1957), 122-132. Jung, C a r l C. Psyche and Symbol, ed. V i o l e t S. de L a s z l o . New York, 1958. L i n d s a y , J a c k . "The A l i e n a t e d A u s t r a l i a n M e a n i i n . X X I I (1963), 48-59. Mc C l e o d , A l a n L. T i n d a l l , W i l l i a m Y. T r i l l i n g , Lionel.  Intellectual,"  The Commonwealth Pen. New York, 1961. The L i t e r a r y Symbol. The L i b e r a l I m a g i n a t i o n .  Bloomington,  1955.  New York, 1960.  

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