Who are the Aborigines in novel Voss?

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The aborigines are the indigenous people of Australia. They have lived there for many thousands of years, carrying on their unique culture despite centuries of colonization by white Europeans. The uneasy relationship between the aborigines and successive waves of white settlers provides a backdrop to Voss ' expedition across the...

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The aborigines are the indigenous people of Australia. They have lived there for many thousands of years, carrying on their unique culture despite centuries of colonization by white Europeans. The uneasy relationship between the aborigines and successive waves of white settlers provides a backdrop to Voss' expedition across the length and breadth of Australia.

As very much a man of his time and place, Voss shares the prejudices of many of his fellow white Europeans regarding Australia's indigenous population, whom he vilifies as "black swine." It is ironic indeed that Voss, in undertaking such a vast expedition, seeks to broaden his mind and escape from the stultifying confines of provincial city life and yet still retains the same narrow-minded, racist attitudes towards native Australians as the very same people he's left behind.

Further irony comes by way of the spiritual dimension of Voss' heroic quest. Although he wishes to escape the crude, shallow materialism of Australian colonial society, he evinces no understanding of the immense spiritual depths of the aborigines' culture and heritage.

Voss' superior attitude towards the aborigines is also, to some extent, formed by his scientific training. In common with many men of science in the 19th century, Voss divides the world up into superior and inferior species, and there's no prize for guessing where he places himself and where he places the aborigines.

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