The Use of Names and Colours in Randolph Stow’s Tourmaline
In Stow's work, the symbolic use of names and colours is deeply influenced not only by an 'imported' orthodox Christian inheritance but also by Stow's specific interest in Aboriginal lore and Eastern religions, in particular Taoism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Indeed, Tourmaline can be read as a 'metaphysical debate between two very different religious "systems", Christian millenarism and the Taoist philosophy of Lao Tzu' (Tiffin, 'Melanesian Cargo Cults' 110). A careful analysis of the novel reveals a very complex strategy in the use of names and colours in relation to this main 'debate', for they have symbolic resonances in the two different symbolic patterns, with Aboriginal lore as a sort of 'complement' to Taoism.
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