Write a letter to Patrick White telling him what you think of any one of the texts you have read this week.
I am a first year University student studying Australian Literature, at the Australian Catholic University, and today, I read your text The Prodigal Son. Initially, before reading the text, the title had already influenced my mind to the Biblical story of a son returning home to his father after having run away. This had given my reading a covering toward my expectation about what I was going to receive. Within the first paragraph, I was already convinced that my expectations would be met by the words, “or why another chooses to return home, are such personal ones that the question can only be answered in a personal way”. This allowed me to think that we would receive the story from the son’s perspective, where the Biblical story shows more of a perspective from the father.
Eventually, I began to think that this piece of writing was going in a different direction and taking a different path than what I had originally thought. As I read about bombing, I am glued to the words to discover how this all links together. “All through the War in the Middle East there persisted a longing to the return to the scenes of childhood”, “aggravated further by the terrible nostalgia”, “the warmth of human relationship”, the way you write speaks of a longing for home. Tying this in with the title, I feel as if you want to portray a desire to be home, in a familiar space and away from everything new and unusual that you have experienced.
White, what were your intentions behind the title of this piece? Does it link in to the story the way I have received it? And, if not, can I still take it that way? Would my definition and perception still line up with your personal intent?
The words, “certainly the state of simplicity and humility is the only desirable one for artist of for man”; communicate the small appreciation of being in a place you feel comfort in. I feel as if the title links in to this story, maybe not in a return of going home, but in finding home and making a home wherever you are, “these, then, are some of the reasons why an expatriate has stayed, in the face of those disappointments which follow inevitably upon his return.”
White, I honestly have such an appreciation for this piece. It has completely taken a different, yet interesting turn from my expectation. It was very enjoyable to read and I admire your insight and passion and how easily you can translate these emotions to pen and paper.
I have chosen this photo because it is so simple, yet satisfying and peaceful; something I can look at for hours and find something new to appreciate about it. This is how I see White’s intent within this piece of writing; he found contentment in a place he made home.