Today we actually met David Malouf! He was actually standing in our lecture room! He cleared up a few things about the novel which was great- there’s really no better source to get insights from. Conversations at Curlow Creek is set in 1827, the same year that the NSW Police force was founded. Before that, law and order was acted out by the Army, but know, civilians maintained the thin blue line. At the beginning of the novel there is a lot of talk of the Bushrangers and rebellion, “the rumour was that those fellers, out there, had been raising up the blacks to help in some sort of rebellion”- p22. This is said by Langhurst, a trooper, a member of authority. Malouf explained this feeling of unease that people in authority were afraid of rebellion and they suspected the Irish of it. Rebellion is a lack of control- just consider what happened to Jed Snelling when the Troopers didn’t have complete control of the situation, “...Jed Snelling, who was stretched out on the sand with a mass of flies at his throat”- p 20. The book has a variety of angles. It raises issues of the past concerning major characters. We are mostly inside Adairs head but we can also see what the people outside the hut are saying about him. You have two perspectives of the same character. One is deeply internal and the other is an outsider’s impression of his external persona. Kersey insults him and calls him a “stickler.” Langhurst defends him in an offhanded way saying that it’s good that the prisoner has company during this time although he later admits that a man in his situation is going to be alone whether he has company or not.
The conversation between Carney and Adair inside the hut is one of justice and criminality. It exists between a member of authority and a man in which authority is exerted upon in its most extreme form. Carney is the last survivor of the Rebel Bushranger Gang. We find out that Carney is educated enough to ask questions about justice but knot educated enough to provide himself with answers. This is where Adair comes in. He suspects that Adair knows the answers- this is given away from the start when Carney mistakes Adair for a Priest. Carney wants nothing more than answers to his questions before he dies. He tries to tell Adair his story to absolve himself from sinfulness. During his conversation with Carney, we are given the background of Adairs world, not so much the family he was brought up in, but the household he is educated in with Virgilia. This was an enlightened household where he was influenced by the thinking in Ireland, England and France. He was a child of the past, a child of revolution. Perhaps he held himself differently than other men and this may have been the reason Carney mistook him for a man of the Church.
Nikki would often say that she could see the script adapted onto the screen, that it had the beginnings of a wonderful movie, full of drama and that cinematic techniques could push this wonderful masterpiece over the edge into the transcendent. Malouf had other thoughts. He said that he didn’t want that, a play or a movie, because they did not allow you to be as inside the head of a character that a novel does. How could you express Adairs most inner thoughts that he would not share with a character? We can hear Adair question himself. This would be impossible in a play or movie. A novel allows you to be speculative and apart of someone’s questions, emotions and doubts.
People got a bit defensive when a question was raised about the books ending. Some people thought that there was enough evidence to suggest that Adair had set Carney free and that in actual fact, the hanging did not take place. Malouf stuck to his guns and said that Adair would not do that and that he was far too committed to establishing some sort of order. He illustrates two realities. There is what really happens and there is what people believe to happen such as rumour or folk story. I like the second reality because it is an alternative to the grim and legalistic world whereby Carney most likely met a choking death. The irony of it all is that this did not really happen at all for the obvious reason that this is fiction- but as MG said, sometimes fiction is more reality than truth. Who knows, it might have been true because Malouf said he was interested in the parts of history that wasn’t recorded. Maybe an event just like this took place with similar emotions and reflections, its just that they were never transcribed on paper.
Wright is a very provocative poet. For example, she tackles issues in her poem “Age to Youth” that challenges the very notion of conventional wisdom. She is saying that perhaps love is wiser than convention and that you must respect love in order to gain wisdom. She is condoning what is beautiful about young love, those little things like a touch of the hand, so simple yet sp meaningful to the heart. She sees idealism in youth and doesn’t wish it to be knocked out. “Not to listen to the old...who tell them love’s a drink poisoned with sorrow” is her way of telling the young to stay wise in their pursuit of love and happiness and not to believe everything you hear from older people who have perhaps been hurt by love along the way, clouding their judgement. She wants young people to experience things for themselves in order to gain their own wisdom. If you love someone, you’re not going to stop because someone else has told you too. If you are hurt by love, you gain wisdom, so that next time you’ll be a little more guarded only allowing those to pass who are trustworthy and truly loving. This lesson cannot be taught, it needs to be experienced, and that is Wrights message. Why should the elderly be ordained as having more wisdom than a younger person? Where does wisdom come from? Who’s to say the youth are not wiser because they are more open to experience? And as for love itself, I feel that we should simply enjoy it when we encounter it and respect the memory of it when we lose it.
I loved this metaphore that i found in a blog posted by John Brownlee,
"Awww. The perfect metaphor for young love. If you're a girl, you hurtle blindly backwards on your lover's handlebars, never quite seeing what will eventually dislodge you; if you're a guy, you just keep feverishly pedaling, desperately trying to whirl around the hard-to-avoid obstacles that will send your girlfriend flying away from you."-By John Brownlee
One of my favourite songs of young love: Teddy Geiger "For You I Will". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fGC7hkzVvc