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Dallimore argues that Richard Mahony's malaise is not caused simply by the malevelonent forces of colonial society, but, more significantly, the forces within his own impetuous and complex self. But, Dallimore concludes that the novel is flawed because Richardson attempted to answer questions that are unanswerable with a prose style that frequently obliterates the sensitivity of the novel's better passages. In her estimation, The Fortunes of Richard Mahony is a minor achievement in Australia's literary history.