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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. This thesis contains 3rd party copyright material. ----- The following thesis consists of a novel length fictional narrative called the Love Machine and an Exegesis entitled ‘The End of Dreaming; Reflections from an Adult World’. I use the setting of an adult shop in Sydney’s Kings Cross to explore some of the contradictions and tensions that exist between secular and religious values in contemporary Australian society. I explore this schism, or grey area, by positing at the centre of the narrative a character with a Christian education. Trained to believe in Heaven and the transcendent dignity of the individual, he finds himself living in a much more brutal place, bereft of love, self-centred and greedy. The adult shop is used as a metaphor for amoral business activity where sex and bodies have been reduced to commodities sold to consumers. The setting also allows me to depict persons that rarely appear in Australian literature - Chinese workers, sex workers, single mothers - and to explore and document the cultural rituals which surround an adult shop and some of the divisive issues raised by the themes of pornography and exploitation. While much of the narrative is set in Kings Cross, I also, in order to depict a broader range of desires, sentiments and ideas held by a larger cross section of people, set many scenes outside of the Eastern suburbs, in the West and South Western suburbs of Sydney. As the research for this thesis was based on personal experience, the Exegesis examines some of the difficulties inherent in mixing ‘fact’ with ‘fiction’, two writing styles which have different spatial and temporal goals. The Exegesis also examines ‘characterisation’ and ‘authorial voice’, with reference made to Gustave Flaubert and Michel Houellebecq amongst others. While the narrative seeks to raise questions rather than discern conclusions, the main protagonist chooses to accept the rational world as opposed to a faith based metaphysical reality, and finds earthly love with a physical woman, after freeing himself from psychological problems related to his childhood.
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