DAVID MALOUF?S REMEMBERING BABYLON AND WHITE AUSTRALIANS? SEARCH FOR IDENTITY THROUGH A BLACK WHITE CHILD

Abstract

Author(s): Nazan YILDIZ

 Australian author David Malouf is well known for his works which deal with identity, language and nature in a colonial setting. Similarly, his Remembering Babylon (1993) discusses the vulnerability of identity within a British colonial setting in Australia. In the novel, the British colonials feel themselves lost in a foreign environment and they are constantly in a mental fight with the Aborigines. Malouf portrays the indigenous culture via Gemmy, a black white child who was raised by the Aborigines. In fact, Gemmy becomes a symbolic figure whose hybrid presence makes the white settlers question their identity and blurs the distinction between “Us” and “them”, the colonial dichotomy. Standing for the unknown, Gemmy first awakens in the settlers the fear of the Aborigines and the return of the oppressed. In fact, Gemmy’s presence violates the boundaries of identity categories, and even proves them wrong. To some critics, Gemmy embodies the new Australian identity. Accordingly, later in the novel, the white settlers find their own identity through Gemmy by finding a reconciliation with the landscape and with the colonized. Therefore, this article aims to examine the white settler’s finding their identity in a colonial setting through a black white child as depicted in David Malouf’s Remembering Babylon.

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