Sunday, 2 January 2011
Remembering Babylon by David Malouf
One day while wondering with them, he spied some white men, whom he later sought out. A family in the new community took him in and tried to help him re-integrate into English style daily life. He had lost much of his earlier language skills and found it difficult to communicate.
What was happening with Gemmy was similar to what was happening with the English colonists. Both were out of their element and trying to fit their old lives into their current location. Gemmy had never had a 'good' nor 'safe' life and he didn't have the skills of how to live in a proper family. The colonists were trying to recreate an English pastoral life in a totally foreign environment that was often hostile to their attempts.
I most enjoyed reading of Gemmy's life and his attempts to fit in anywhere. He didn't find a safe place in England, not on the ship and even with the aborigines he was always an outsider. He wasn't either a white fellow or a black fellow, he was something else. I think perhaps that he was a lot of what was needed to for the transplanted English to survive in Australia, but that the whites refused to even consider the possibility.