‘Blind Date’ is an engaging short story by Janette Turner Hospital that successfully draws us into the world of a young blind boy on the day of his sister’s wedding. Told as a linear narrative, with flashbacks from Lachlan’s perspective and details provided by his sister Pamela, we follow the protagonist’s shocking realisation of his father’s absence. It is the first story from Turner Hospital’s anthology Forecast: Turbulence, published in 2011, where
Violent weather pervades this breathtaking collection, reflecting the cataclysmic emotions swirling through the lives of the protagonists.
These stories, of heartbreaking poignancy, shocking power and steadfast resolve, all grapple with a universal question: how can we maintain equilibrium in a turbulent and uncertain world?
We read, discussed and analysed ‘Blind Date’ while studying The Black Balloon, Elissa Down’s debut film about growing up with an autistic sibling for Module C: Texts and Society – Elective 1 Exploring Interactions.
We noted the ambiguity inherent in the title, and spent some time considering the denoted meaning and connotations of each word:
- ‘blind’ has both metaphorical and literal implications, while
- ‘date’ is equally loaded with emotional expectations.
We agreed that the title created a sense of curiosity for the reader, and that we were not expecting the story that followed. In understanding the dust cover’s reference to weather, we were on the lookout for emotional links, and found that 10 year old Lachlan had an intense relationship with cyclones, storms and rain, particularly expressed in yearning for his absent father.
In considering this narrative as related material, we thought of the following themes that would promote a rich discussion and allow an essay to effectively move between texts. These are:
- abandonment or isolation
- individual perspectives
We noted the beautifully crafted writing employed by Turner Hospital and its ability to use sensual language in deepening our understanding of how a blind person might make sense of the world. Although his disability is not obvious, Turner Hospital cleverly weaves clues throughout … lexical chain … word choice
We appreciate Lachlan’s referencing of tactile and aromatic features when recalling events, made clear through the use of similes.
NOT QUITE FINISHED YET …
*featured image from Science of Us article ‘What Dreams Are Like for Blind People.’