The focus of this essay will be on the use of doubling, as a literary device, in the narratives of Christos Tsiolkas’s novel Loaded and in Daniel Defoe’s The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Doubling, as referred to here, is the presentation of two mirroring ideological concepts, or locations and/or characterisations. The use of doubling, sometimes in binary opposition, is most pervasive in the novel Loaded, and so I will begin my analysis with this text.
Tsiolkas’s first novel is, literally, loaded with these comparisons, and the reader is quickly presented with several twin ideologies, existing and competing, within Ari; the novel’s narrator and main character. Ari is young, male, homosexual, and Greek Australian. His uncensored narration of a slice of his life, lived over a brief but pulsating few days, introduces the reader to the cultures, and identities, competing for his soul. His Greekness is powerfully conveyed by the descriptions of his home in a close knit migrant family (12). The dancing, by members of Ari’s family at home and also by Greek friends at a pub, contrasts with the passionless Australian, or ‘skip’, culture (55) (42). The Greek migrant culture in Australia is presented in this novel, as outwardly full of passion and feeling, but could also be construed as a shell around something empty (29). Tsiolkas said, in an interview published in 2002, “I was raised to understand the Greek world as the dominant culture and the Australian world as the ‘alternative’ “(Somerville 198). Ari is going through the motions, in his adherence to Greek family life, but inside is indifferent to it, and is indirectly forced by its limiting façade to hide his homosexuality from his parents (30).
Ari’s ‘gayness’ is another cultural ideology alive within this character and Tsiolkas also doubles this with the Greek migrant ideologies.
“I’m a man I say, in a deep drawl. And I take it up the arse. Of course you do, she answers, you’re Greek. We all take it up the arse (46).”
Tsiolkas’ Loaded & Robinson Crusoe
Defoe, Daniel, The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Transcribed from the 1919 Seeley, Service & Co. edition by David Price, Gutenberg Project Online Book, 2010.
Dunkley, Anna, “Drugs, Pleasure, Sexuality and the Australian Space in Christos Tsiolkas’ Loaded and Kate Holden’s In My Skin” , Undergraduate Research Journal, Vol 3, 2011, https://eview.anu.edu.au/anuuj/vol3_11/pdf4/ch01.pdf
Pimentel, Juan, “Robinson Crusoe – The fate of the British Ulysses”, Endeavour, Vol 34, Issue 1, 2010.
Schonhorn, Manuel, Defoe’s Politics: Parliament, power, kingship, and Robinson Crusoe, Cambridge England ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1991.
Somerville, Paul, “Getting Out Of It”, Meanjin , Melbourne, v.61, no.2, 2002.
Tsiolkas, Christos, Loaded, Sydney, Vintage, 1995.
Vernay, Jean-Francois, “Only Disconnect – Canonizing Homonormative Values: Representation and the Paradox of Gayness in Christos Tsiolkas’s Loaded “Antipodes, June, 2006, Vol.20.
White, Michael. V. “The Production of an Economic Robinson Crusoe”, Grapard, Ulla and Gillian Hewitson (editors), Robinson Crusoe’s Economic Man- A construction and deconstruction, London ; New York : Routledge, 2011.