Blog 10

Prepare a digital kit specifically on The Riders in the Chariot.
Australian Dictionary of Biography. Written to record the life of Author Patrick White, details are in a chronological order. The biography includes records of his published works, accomplishments and awards. Written by Elizabeth Webby
The New York Review of books covers Patrick White’s Riders in the Chariot. The review includes quotes from other publications about the book. It also includes a short biography about Patrick White.
Patrick White’s novel Riders in the Chariot won the Nobel Prize in literature previously in 1973. These two links are both from the website of the Nobel Prize organisation. The first link is another biography for Patrick White, the second is a page specifically for the award.

The Life and Faith of Patrick White. Below is an interview with writer David Marr, discussing Patrick Whites life and works. As well as changes in Patrick White’s faith.


Blog 9!

Write a paragraph in David Malouf’s style describing your meeting with a stranger. What thoughts did you find inhabiting you in the process?

When encountering the stranger in the street, his kindness was expressed in the apology released for bumping into me. An air of importance surrounded him, only humbled by the act of stooping to help me pick up papers I had dropped. From a tall, proud and broad stature to bended knee, where he was within my direct eye line, I observed a strong, stubborn jaw complementing a straight mouth and a well-defined brow. It helped to shadow a serious gaze, which easily fixated whilst simultaneously smoothly considering the scene before him. He landed a heavy briefcase atop of some of the papers that were tempted to catch the wind and fly away.

Malouf writes with a very descriptive flair of style. He tends to lean towards more describing the emotions of a character, which only serves to compliment the latter physical descriptions, which is what I’ve attempted to do above.

Blog 8!

Respond briefly to the idea that opening our heart to someone outside our comfort zone can be a real catalyst for personal growth and awakening. Base this on your own experience.

Everyone feels the need to escape or to relax, these needs are nonspecific to a particular type of person, combined with the lack of destination that could provide travelers with grouping distinctions makes for a very mixed atmosphere of people. Last year I embarked on an island cruise with three friends. I have always hoped to be opened to everyone I encounter. As a result I have met many new people, of varied; ages, social circles, cultures and religions. There is no greater melting pot than a cruise ship.
My friends, who I have known for much of my life, were as used to seeing me as I was them, over extended periods of time for many years. However cabin fever struck three days in, living literally on top of each other I slowly felt a little claustrophobic toward my friends. At this point I decided I needed to meet others and I quickly became more open to the people around me. Now people on cruises are both generally and genuinely friendly, which meant that you wouldn’t be able to get onto an elevator or sit on a deck chair or a bar stool without receiving friendly greetings from other travelers or staff. This made for easy beginnings to conversations with people you definitely didn’t know. Over twelve days of interaction I learnt many things about others on the boat. Specific examples include our head waiter, a girl close to my age who was travelling with a larger group of family and friends with their parents in tow and one of my friend’s great aunt and uncle.
Our waiter was currently serving out a successive contract with the boat we were dining on, as each cruise contract locked an employee down for a certain amount of months. He was working to support his family back home and was looking forward to seeing them again. The waiter was incredibly friendly and open, sharing many personal details with my table of six. By the end of the cruise however he knew each of our names as well as small details about ourselves that we had shared in return. From our waiter I had learned to listen to others more intently, to pay attention and respond in kind when they were willing to listen to me.
The girl I met, purposefully on one of the nights the cruise held a night party on deck. I had personally made it my mission to involve everyone in celebrations. Instead of bumping uselessly and deliberately ignoring strangers on the dance floor, I would introduce myself, including them in a larger circle. Thanks to everyone’s willingness, by then end of that night groups were no longer segregated and those brave enough would show off their moves in the middle of a giant circle made up of everyone who was on deck. The girl was part of a larger group that I had met that night and she called out to me the next morning; I was getting my breakfast from the buffet when they invited me to sit with them. From that moment on, even if I did struggle with remembering all their names for some time, we became good friends. A person I had never met before would suddenly be comfortable sitting opposite me in a comfortable silence, or showing me how to play a new card game or happily doing a group shots, which I had shouted on account of her 21st birthday. Stepping out of my comfort zone I had met this great person among many other equally great people and made a new friend. To me it was an awakening to the friendliness of others, who had surprised me with their willingness to participate in something fun and joyous. The party got bigger and incredibly more enjoyable as more people were added into the mix, something I never would’ve thought about if I had just stuck to enjoying myself with just my close friends.
The third example is in the form of my friend’s Great Aunt and Great Uncle. During dinner they would often regale us with stories from their youth, or give us advice gained from their past cruising experiences or more generally sharing wisdom from their life experiences. Her Great Aunt was marvelous, often cheekily asking use if anyone handsome had caught our eye that day or inquiring into how our island visits were. I had a healthy respect for both elders, growing used to their kindness and the sense that they had become like surrogate family for those twelve days. I saw them a couple of months later and both showed equal amounts of kindness despite the time created distance that had separated us. Both similarly interested in what each of us girls had done in the months since the cruise, whilst responding with their own adventures and plans of future cruises. To feel so familiar with someone else’s family is outside of any regular person’s comfort zone and yet I have learnt to appreciate the little things I have experience every day in hopes that I too one day can share the wisdom of my experiences with other as my friend’s Great Aunt and Uncle had so generously supplied.

Blog 7!

No Question this week, instead I thought I’d upload this. It is a video created by a group of people and I to express how we understood the ideas behind William Blake’s work. Mostly we worked with his concept of seeing through the eye, versus seeing with the eye, mostly relating to Blake’s idea of doors. Seeing with the eye is to shut the door and remain behind it, seeing through the eye is to open the door, and experience the outside. We provided some highly shallow institutionalised points of view as an example of seeing with the eye. We juxtaposed these examples with more open and liberal points of view to indicative of those that see through the eye. Then we delved even further into seeing through the eye. We travelled through the door, with a relevant Blake quote, into the environment which was a focus of Blake’s emphasis of experience. We’ve emphasised the scenery with a song by OneRepublic that speaks to this idea of experience.

Blog 6!

Take one of the “Proverbs of Hell” and write a short account of what you think it means and how you think it helps to explain an aspect of Blake’s thinking.

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.
Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.
Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity.
He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence.
The cut worm forgives the plow.

The obvious meaning to the about proverb of hell is that effort and experience are rewarding. The first line can is metaphor for the human life. The seed represents childhood, a time of learning and experience. The harvest is from the beginning to the end of adulthood, a time when lessons learnt and experience can be taught to others. In the winter years of life, that is when a person is elderly they can enjoy the fruits of their labour, the wisdom of their efforts and their experience.

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The second line describes procession. A push to continue with life, to make a better re-use of the experience that has come before you.
The third, fourth and fifth line are connected by their repetitive proverbial style.  The first ends in a rich outcome, Blake values a great capacity for experience, a road travelled that results in a lot of experience means that eventually those who are experience will gain wisdom through their efforts.  The second and third are negative proverbs. A person unable to manage their lives is destined to live cripplingly cautiously and unimaginatively in their future. Also a person who doesn’t actively pursue what they want in life will be devastated by what Blake describes as pestilence a fatal disease; this has clear negative connotations indicating an unhappy end.
The final line is another short proverb, relating to the rewards of effort and experience. If a worm is cut into two, it will grow another tail, some worms have even been proven to grow new heads and as such from one worm, two form which is a process heavy with positive connotations. This positive comes from the effort put in by the plow.

Blog 5!

Find a single line in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and write a short paragraph explaining what it is about this line that you find so arresting.

“I tell you, no virtue can exist without breaking these Ten Commandments: Jesus was all virtue, and acted from impulse, not from rules.”
This line from within “A Memorable Fancy” plates 23 and 24 in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is for me the most arresting. The demon is a symbol for evil and is infamous for temptation and here the demon does in fact succeed, not in just enticing the angel but also enticing me as the reader. It very much speaks to what Blake was about as well; he is very much about seeing through the eye and finding faith from outside institutions which have more of a perception that begins and ends with only seeing with the eye and not beyond. Blake’s demon points out that virtue is non-existent if everything is rigid. He uses Jesus as the example to defeat the angel’s theories, but this is not the focus which is important because Blake doesn’t entangle his writings with religious institutions. I think the line resonates with me because it is an ideal way to live life, to walk through your existence without going unfeeling, to live on impulse not to directly follow rules. To be guided by experience and emotion rather than guidelines which are imposed upon our lives.

Plates 23 and 24 of “A Memorable Fancy” from A Marriage of Heaven and Hell


Blog 4

“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite”. This is the next line in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell after his description of his printing method. Describe to a friend what you think Blake means by this. If possible include some reference to the rock group The Doorswho were deeply inspired by Blake’s ideas.

So what Blake means by; “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite” is that simply an infinite amount more could be seen if our perception was clear of everything else. If like Blake’s printing method we could eliminate the unnecessary from the path which we view our worlds, we would be able to see much clearer, we wouldn’t just see narrow perspectives as if through windows or screens but we could open the door to every idea.
The Doors, an influential band of the 1960’s, front man Jim Morrison suggested they take their name from Aldous Huxley’s Door’s of Perception, a title which obviously in turn was inspired by Blake’s quote. Perhaps the band used their music to cleanse the door like Blake did with his printing process. One of the first official The Doors’ singles was named “Break on Through (to the other side)”, with lyrics like “I found an island in your arms/Country in your eyes” it is easy to identify Blake’s influence upon their music. They suggest a change of perception, to widen its scale and see more than the minimum and normal.

Blog Post 3!!

3/ “London”- do the insights that Blake applies to the London of his times have any relevance at all to the Sydney in which you live? Write a short paragraph or compose a short poem that gives your sense of the relationship of your modern city to the Blake’s “London”.

Winding through streets of Sydney,
Like the charter’d streets of London in all but name.
In every face that passes me,
I see passing sadness, passed into despair.

In every silent scream of every person,
In every silent plea,
In every silenced voice,
The mind-forg’d manacles re-emerge to clamp on tighter than before.

These are the main relative insight’s Blake’s London shares with my Sydney. I see an unhappy population, bound by law. Where the inequality on supposedly liberal streets abounds, prime examples are the homeless and also those who suffer at the government’s hand. Those who are affected by the unemployment rate of some other knock on effect of the economic crisis. However the reason I didn’t continue is that I couldn’t find any relevance in Blake’s further insights.

Blog 2!

2/ In “The School Boy”, in “The Poison Tree”, in “The Human Abstract” -and in his letters- Blake shows penetrating insight into the human condition. What part of the human condition has he most to say about to you?

Blake has a great talent for expressing his insight into the human condition. The condition he has the most to say about to me is the importance of our emotions. That we as humans are strengthened by our emotions and we can also wield our emotions for our experiences. That we use our emotions for many purposes which can be both physical, like in The Poison Tree and spiritual like in The School Boy. Blake also delves into more traditional emotions like wrath and jealousy in The Poison Tree which slowly and metaphorically morph into a more physical shape as vengeance succeeds at the end of the poem with a foe’s death. This differs to a more spiritual use that I see in The School Boy, wherein Blake uses the poem to argue the importance of emotion, that it can be learnt through one experience and applied to another experience. Blake uses the example of a school boy wrapped in studies with zero life experience, to test his emotions. What type of courage will the School Boy have to wield when met with adversity, if he has no experience with emotional adversity, if the School Boy’s emotions are not tested by real world experience.