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Stolen Car (Archie Weller)

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We are often positioned how we should feel about a location from its representations in texts. In Archie Weller’s short story, ‘Stolen Car’, he conveys ideas about Perth through a variety of techniques. The ideas which are conveyed in Weller’s story include, but are not limited to, urban corruption, intense racism and the general lawlessness of ‘progress’. The techniques which he has incorporated consist of colour, animalistic connotations and anthropomorphic likening’s. The colours which Weller uses to define the features of the surroundings are predominately dull and cold. These colours lend to the environment, as feelings of melancholy and desolation.

Weller’s constant use of “Bitumen” serves to fabricate a tedious and artificial environment, a literal “Bitumen world”; this contributes to the already present and overwhelming sense of melancholy. The general darkness, broken up only by “flat black shadows, dancing in the lighter grey of the night”, this embodies that in spite of the darkness there are sparks of light present throughout this lost city. Due to the prevalence of muted tones during the course of Weller’s tale the present of such vivid colour “as a red gaping mouth”, provides focus to the reader causing their attention to be fully centred on the nightclub, which is in and of itself a symbol of lawlessness and corruption. Alongside colours, animals similarly play a significant role Weller’s story, contributing a sense of savagery and animalistic tendencies in regards to his characters. The connotations reflect the amoral society Johnny has entered.

We see continues evidence in the narrative such as the police who are regularly compared to dogs, fearsome and brutal in their ways; causing them to be viewed as mistrustful characters. As top of the hierarchy of the city, the laws corruption in turn allows for the development of refined justification on Johnny’s behalf. This oppression leads to the many members of the indigenous community becoming little more than “kicked stray dogs, tailed between dusty legs”. Thus, the brutal and inhumane society Weller has constructed is completed by the loathsome racism that is clearly present. As well as his use of animals, he incorporates anthropomorphic parallels which, once more add to the overall repugnant view of the Perth society. These augment the ‘already present’, undertone of the bestial behaviours of his entities. While cultivating his environment Weller uses evocative language to describe the buildings as “scarring, pregnant, purple sky”, this alongside his description of the city, as a violent being, who’s “claws rip open the clouds”, attributing a willing malice, to an otherwise conventional city. These various aspects combine to position the reader to few Perth, and its many inhabitants, as scum. From the colour to the context, every part of Weller’s story serves to further position the reader to despise everything Perth represents. Weller does this by constant sub-textual and intertextual references, to illustrate the general immoral nature of ‘The City’. Johnny commits his first and last crime in his quest for freedom and release; “leaving just a wind in your wake. And who remembers the wind?”

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