Gee's territory: Pakeha society in the fiction of Maurice Gee
Abstract (Summary)This thesis offers a detailed reading of the adult fiction of the New Zealand writer Maurice Gee in order to examine their representations of a settler community in a post-colonial society. The works of social historians, political economists and sociologists are used to make relevant connections between events and attitudes in the actual world and those portrayed in the novels. Observations are made on the overall condition of the Pakeha in New Zealand society at the end of the millennium. The Introduction discusses the current understanding of the post-settler position in post-colonial theory, and explains the use in the thesis of the term Pakeha to describe this position. The body of the thesis is divided into five chapters that roughly correspond with the final decades of the twentieth century. Each chapter discusses the two or three novels Maurice Gee published in each decade, starting with the little known novels from the 1960s, The Big Season and A Special Flower, and concluding with the three novels published during the 1990s. Working from the premise that the acknowledgement and understanding of the settler position is an important responsibility of the modern post-colonial society, the thesis argues that Gee's novels are a profound expression of the settler position in contemporary New Zealand, and that the uncertainty and hesitation revealed in each of them reflect a cultural anxiety underlying the settler consciousness. In the bibliography Gee's novels are acknowledged as the primary resource of the thesis, and the numerous books, articles, reviews and essays used to support the ideas proposed in the thesis – literary, historical, economic and sociological – are presented as secondary sources.
Advisor:Albert Wendt; Peter Simpson
School Location:New Zealand
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/01/2002