“Down at the Dump” by Patrick White–What aspects of style make White’s writing distinctive?

Reading Patrick White’s characters, the Whallys in this short story is like listening to the conversation of my next door neighbours. There are swear words, high pitch voice and informal language involved. In this story, White included words that are used by a lot of people in their everyday conversations. For example, words like “waddayaget?” instead of “what do you get?”, “missus” instead of wife. The informal style of his writing can be noticed when some of the characters of the story are talking to each other. This adds humour to his story and not boring to read. Like most writers, he showed his poetic side by using metaphors and he did this in formal writing when he narrates the story. He switches from formal to informal (or vice versa) style of writing. White has a way of making his narrative structure complex, perhaps to add interest in the story. His different characters especially Daise is also interesting. She is the dead person that talks that is about to be buried. The love story of Meg and Lummy made this story more varied and interesting to read. My favourite line is, “Now Meg Hogben and Lummy Whalley did not notice each other even when they looked”. I think this is funny considering they knew each other. I like the idea that themes such as love and death are both in this short story.

The complex narrative structure of the story made my experience in reading this story difficult. But the humour in it helped ease the difficulty. For me, White’s use of informal language, his use of words in clever and funny way and the complex narrative structure make his writing distinctive.


2 thoughts on ““Down at the Dump” by Patrick White–What aspects of style make White’s writing distinctive?

  1. Hi Vivian- your blogs have been getting better and better over the semester. It has been really wonderful seeing how you have allowed yourself to engage so fully in the writers we have been studying. Thank you for all your efforts and your readiness to take on the role of William in our major performance! So good!
    Good wishes

    Liked by 1 person

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