The Redemptive Theme in ‘His Natural Life’


Hergenhan reveals that after Clarke shortened the serial version of His Natural Life for book publication a theme of redemption was emphasized. The moral collapse of the “good” Rufus Dawes in the latter parts of the book presents the convict as someone requiring redemption. Dawes’ redemption is played out against the degeneration of Reverend North, and the two swap religious roles, preparing the former to “save” Sylvia, the personification of goodness.

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Published 1 June 1965 in Volume 2 No. 1.

Cite as: Hergenhan, Laurie. ‘The Redemptive Theme in ‘His Natural Life’.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 2, no. 1, 1965, doi: 10.20314/als.9ed6d9afb7.