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The article examines how these two works offer examples of post-colonial transformation of the child, two versions of the story of the child of the wilderness breaking into the circle of civilization. David Malouf's use of the child figure, in particular, demonstrates how a metaphor that has been utilized to convey the primitive nature of colonial subjects can be reshaped into a vision of post-colonial possibility. Malouf demonstrates the extent to which post-colonial futures are limited only by the limits of the imagination.
"Using Edouard Glissant's notion of a history as a 'prophetic vision of the past' ... [this chapter] demonstrates how ... Oscar and Lucinda balances its prophetic vision on an allegorical journey which depicts the teleological, often visionary, but deeply contradictory progress of European civilization. The journey of Oscar's glass church up the Bellinger River is an allegory of imperial history itself : the classic journey of civilization into the wild on its historic mission to bring light into the darkness." (p.5)