Point Chev boys and the landscapes of suburban memory: autobiographies of Auckland childhoods
This article uses a comparative analysis of two autobiographical texts to consider the ways in which the emotions and the imagination inform a sense of place. These autobiographies recount boyhoods in Point Chevalier, an Auckland suburb which embodies much that is emblematic of the mythology of early- to mid-twentieth-century childhoods in New Zealand. Both a modern suburb in a fast-growing city, and a richly particular coastal environment, it makes itself available as the setting for a childhood of the national imaginary. But as each of these narratives crosses the suburban terrain it produces a different understanding of what it meant to grow up as a male then, and there: in Halfway Round the Harbour Keith Sinclair never questions the fit between boy and place, or the certainty of his belonging and his identity; Peter Wells in Long Loop Home recalls a tumultuous boyhood increasingly marked by the threat of exclusion and intense family conflict. Between the two opposing trajectories of these texts, other possibilities are glimpsed. Place is created here by gender, sexuality and class; and masculinity is shaped and positioned differently for each of these boyhoods and the men who reflect on them. The affect of place marks the difference between these two Point Chevs.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Rights Statement: © 2009 Taylor & Francis
Keywords: New Zealand; autobiography; boyhoods; place; suburb; masculinity; sexuality
Research Type: Journal Article
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