Dear Mr Patrick White,

May I start off by saying it has been a pleasure reading such personal and intriguing writings that you have created. You write with such a concern with one’s interior life, what goes on behind closed doors which I believe shows the most literal sense of the truth of a persons lifestyle. First off I just wanted to let you know how I felt about each other the characters within this story and as well evaluate theories on how you came up with these characters.

When reading your writings the one that has struck a cord with my thought is ‘Down in the Dumps’ which you made in 1964. Which was a clear, insightful writing about the bigger picture, the interior of one’s thoughts and feelings. With characters like Mrs Hogben who shows no affection towards others represents a person who is willingly to let her anger been seen. Her role play’s a large but negative part in the life of her daughter Megan who truly dislikes her mothers views on her life and has become an intensely nervous person when it comes to decision making. As a result of Megan’s forced attitude the one character that brings out the carefree, fun and loving side of Megan is her Aunt Daise. Aunt Daise has grown on me and has become my favourite character as she possesses real and pure love in everything she does and is not afraid to express her ‘out there’ ideas. Daise has been the most influential character in Megan’s life and as a result of this embraces her auntie’s free spiritedness because in Megan’s eyes you can see that Daise has everything she wants.

These three characters both share a blood relationship with Megan but then I thought to myself why would you create one character who despises everything the other does. My honest theory would be that before this stage in time both parties Mrs Hogben and Daise had a positive relationship and got along. As Mrs Hogben’s personalities is shown to be one of strict and a posh nature compared to Daise’s which is seen to be laid back brings the theme to light that maybe Mrs Hogben has been jealous of the person that Daise has become. As this is only an idea of mine it inspired me to make assumptions and go deeper into your work. The ‘Jealously’ which comes from Mrs Hogben persona towards Daise’ can also be the residing factor of why Mrs Hogben more informally known as Myrtle dislikes the way Megan adores and appreciates Aunt Daise’s ‘out there’ attitude.

Overall, “Down in the Dumps” is a fantastic piece of writing and really admire the characters and their meaningful part the place within this story. Your writings reflect on events that could really take place in someone’s real life, that’s what’s makes your writing’s more and more intriguing.

Speak soon and keep up the great work!!

From Annaliese Ferraro, Australian Literature 2016

* Patrick White Extract, “Down in the Dumps”


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