Write a letter to Patrick White telling him what you think of any one of the texts you have read this week.
Dear Mr White:
I just want to start off by saying that your poetry and other works are incredible, and by studying your works at university, I have developed a lot of appreciation for what you have expressed in your literature. I admire your acceptance and non-judgmental attitude towards people who are considered ‘outsiders’. Your social advocacy on nuclear war and institutionalised corruption in the world is also very inspiring, and reminds me of George Orwell’s intent of writing his famous novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was similar to the advocacy you emphasised in your some of your texts. In particular, your essay, The Prodigal Son, effectively reveals your opinion on the matter: “In all directions stretched the Great Australia Emptiness, in which the mind is the least of possessions, in which the rich man is the important man… in which beautiful youths and girls stare at life through blind blue eyes”. Reading this quote in my lecture was very memorable. Your word choice of “blind” indicates that although the kind of people you are referring to have eyes, they cannot see true beauty in life, as they are too absorbed into unauthentic and superficial aspects in their lives that don’t actually hold much meaning or value.
Another memorable statement I read in The Prodigal Son was: “I wanted to discover the extraordinary behind the ordinary”. When I read this, I immediately thought of my favourite book, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. The reason for this is because one of the main characters, Hazel Grace Lancaster, teaches a valuable lesson to another main character, Augustus Waters. She teaches him that being afraid from oblivion is not what he should really be afraid of, and that “there will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you”. To me, this means that as humans, we shouldn’t be pressured into having the most successful life in order to be remembered; the idea of ‘success’ is very subjective. Similarly to what Hazel suggests, the idea conveyed in your statement, is the importance of acknowledging beauty in things that are right in front of us, such as friendships and art. So I agree with the idea that these aspects in life are much more meaningful than obtaining materialistic possessions.
Furthermore, I think you will be interested to know about another poet who I also greatly admire, his name is Francis Webb. His poetry is just as engaging as yours, and I especially liked his poem, Ward Two, as he constructs a series of patients and at the same time, he observes humanity at its core. He implements his own experiences in a psychiatric ward and connotes the idea that the world outside the ward is a mad one, which implicitly suggests the importance of not being ignorant towards people, just because they have a mental illness. Additionally, he critiques the chaos in which modern people live in, similarly to your criticisms on how society is evolving.
To conclude, I want to commend you for expressing your significant thoughts about humanity in your texts. Might I add that I was not surprised when I heard that you won the Nobel Prize in Literature. I look forward to studying more of your works and other authors who also emphasise their ideas and personal experiences in their literature.
Green, John. The Fault In Our Stars. Print.
Jose, Nicholas. Macquarie PEN Anthology Of Australian Literature. Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 2009. Print.