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Cloudstreet - the significance of the Blackfella

Uploaded by horn on Sep 08, 2001

In Cloudstreet, the mysterious figure of the Blackfella appears at key points, mostly to Quick. In each occurrence he appears to represent a different meaning or purpose, but there is an overall symbolic representation, and that is of spirituality.

Although he appears to be in physical presence, as in where he talks to Quick, the Blackfella has an overwhelming spiritual presence. This is not represented just through aboriginal symbolism – there are also many biblical references when the Blackfella appears.

On page 61 the Blackfella flees from Cloudstreet once he reaches the centre of the house. This portrays a sense of spirituality in the air due to the ancestral deaths that had occurred there.

In an imaginary scene on page 178, Fish sees a lack man flying around and over him. This image represents somewhat an impression of the spiritualistic freedom the Blackfella has.

On page 208, Quick picks up the Blackfella who has take the role of a hitchhiker. He leads Quick back home to Cloudstreet, but Quick refuses to go back. During the drive to Cloudstreet, a biblical reference is made to the Blackfella. From his bag, he pulls out bread and a wine-like drink, much like the bible story, and this supply appears not to deplete. Quick suspects nothing at all.

By page 217, Quick begins to think about who this black man is. Quick had been pulling in hundreds of fish in an almost incomprehensible situation, where he would be catching strings of fish attached to each other. As he is rowing he sees a black figure that appears to be walking on water. As he moves closer he recognises the black figure as the familiar Blackfella. This, again, can be perceived as a biblical reference.

Page 326 has a short appearance of the Blackfella to Fish, who sees him across the street from Cloudstreet. As a truck goes by, the Blackfella disappears “in the dust as it leaves”. This simply gives a supernatural feel to the Blackfella’s presence.

Earlier when Quick had given the Blackfella a lift to Cloudstreet, it had appeared that the Blackfella was attempting to guide Quick home. This subtle message was later presented much stronger on page 362 where the Blackfella tells Quick straight up to “Go home … This is not your home”.

Again on page 368 the Blackfella sends Quick home. When Quick turns to face him again, instead of one, there are hundreds of Blackfellas.

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Uploaded by:   horn

Date:   09/08/2001

Category:   Literature

Length:   3 pages (579 words)

Views:   1610

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