Patrick White’s View of Human Nature

As Gleaned from His Story, ‘ Down at the Dump’

Gleaning from the characterisation of Wal and his wife, of Daisy and her paramours, of Meg and Lum, one can discern Patrick White’s view of man’s nature to be that of being SENSUAL. Well, there is no point of denying this, unless one is a eunuch. Sensuality, defined as the enjoyment or pursuit of physical pleasure can hide behind other terms.

Words like sexuality, eroticism, passion, sex drive, the hots, sexual attractiveness all boil down to the same thing___ libido. That ‘ lusting ‘ sensation is due to the hormonal complex controlling/influencing the production of reproductive cells or gametes. Nature has provided man with this hormone system to ensure that his kind will continue to populate the earth. But man is much more than a sexual machine. Man is imbued with a sense of morality, a conscience, a sense of dignity, love and respect for oneself and for others.

Today flirtations get tolerated but it is not encouraged. One becomes a fodder for the gossip mill when one ‘ misbehaves’. The institution of dress-codes and codes of conduct at schools and workplaces, at high-end cafes and restaurants, and at places of worship is a witness to man’s predilection for propriety and decency.

A cultured man has a tempered sensuality_ a managed sexuality. Such a man knows his limits within the confines of the accepted norms of his culture and belief.

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