Remembering Babylon

Challenging or Naturalizing Ideas about Australia 12th Grade

In the grace period of Australia’s colonial development, many cultural assumptions and ideas were created in response to the increase of British immigration. Australia was a home away from home, a land of opportunity and adventure that allowed the English populace ‘freedom’ from the almost oppressive presence of the British Empire. David Malouf’s Remembering Babylon, the story of a nameless white settlement in Northern Queensland, presents a perspective often seen in literary texts of this nature, that being the birth of nationhood and the true foundations of Australian culture as we know it. The assumptions many have of what nineteenth century Australia was like and what has since been retained and is evident in the modern-day culture, has been clearly referenced and explored in Remembering Babylon. The reader can see their suspicions, ideas and assumptions challenged and naturalized in equal measure.

As most would assume, any text exploring the nature of the nineteenth century would be expected to have the heavy presence of religion hanging over the characters and story arc. It’s no secret that the British Empire, and most of the Euro-centric world, were founded on the backs of beliefs originating from Biblical texts and...

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