chapter  4
29 Pages

Sent Away Boys

When the downward spiral of agricultural production, economic necessity and political discontent become the condition for the aberrant acts of individuals or social groups, it is possible for people to present them as ‘fate’, and perhaps restore the deviant act to normalcy. Condemnation of aberrant acts does not remain constant, especially of acts that can be justified or forgiven. Goldy’s story, discussed in the previous chapter, belongs to this realm of aberration. The making of Goldy as migrant ‘fitted’ certain cultural expectations of responsibility that sons must demonstrate, or be seen to demonstrate, towards the family. The disparity between his education and that of his sister was balanced by an expectation that the sister would provision her brother’s future to enable him to contribute to family fortunes. Imbalance and aberration were ‘levelled’ within a future foretold.