How does Kate Grenville’s novel, The Secret River, complicate simplistic views of the colonial situation?
To some extent the past generations have been reared on a patriotic view of past Australian history, interpreting its history as largely a success. Since history is determined by the perspective of from which it is written, this version of Australian history, the Three Cheers view, was written from the perspective of white working-class males, who consider Australian pioneers to be the simple, honest and humble people. Until recently, a rival interpretation, the Black Armband view, has assailed the generally optimistic view of Australian history by construing the history of Australia as a disgrace. This second simplistic view …show more content…
"What's mine is mine and I have never waited for any by-your’s-leave...They were a pair of human ears, dark brown, hacked off rough. Where the blood had dried it had crusted almost purple, like any other meat left out too long"4.
Furthermore, Smasher is also guilty of the dehumanisation of an Aboriginal by creating a scarecrow out of its body5, kidnapping and raping an Aboriginal woman6 and repeatedly asserting that the Blacks deserve to die. Smasher 2appears in the novel to be a very hostile and aggressive man who is not willing to even try to understand the Aboriginal culture, seeing himself as superior and highly civilised. Because of his strong beliefs that the Aborigines are no more than irritating savages, he frequently takes matters into his own hands by dealing with them violently and quickly. By making it evident that Smasher's hatred and conflict towards the Aborigines was not a result of fear or self-defence, but an outcome from pure blind racism and malevolence, Grenville suggests that some of the European settlers shared cruel, xenophobic personalities, which reinforces the Black Armband view of Australian history.
In the novel, Grenville also creates another character who to a great extent juxtaposes the vision that Smasher embodies. Thomas Blackwood, a fellow emancipist settler, out of all the characters in the novel, is the one who shows utmost appreciation and knowledge of the Aborigines and their culture. Along with the running of a
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The history wars of Australia is an area of great controversial debate. Throughout the course of Australian history, the public has been mainly subjected to one perspective that focused on the glorifying moments of European settlement and its progress such as its involvement in world wars and the transition of the nation into a globalised continent. As a result, there is a rigid dichotomy between the perceptions of white Australians and the indigenous population on subjects such as the colonisation or invasion of Australia. History told from the perspective of Aboriginal people greatly contrasts what is written in the history books and also what is exposed or encouraged towards the public. It focuses on the dispossession of indigenous people, the massacres and the attempted eradication of culture. This view of Australian history has been labeled as 'black armband history', which was first used during an interview by a historian, Geoffrey Blainey.
Australia is filled with many different aspects in which makes it the country it is today. I believe it is important to study texts that explore aspects of Australia by studying texts such as ‘The Club’, by David Williamson, a play written in 1977 about an Australian football club and movies such as “The Castle”, directed by Rob Stitch in 1997, about the daily life of an Australian family when their happiness is threatened when developers attempt to buy their house to expand the neighboring airport. Both these texts show us what Australian life was like in the past. By us looking at themes such as language, tradition and the mateship shown we are able to explore different aspects of Australia that make it what it is today.
The pursuit for a national day has been a part of an effort to define our unique national identity and a day that defines it. Australia Day is a subject of debate, reflecting the fact that national identity is unsolidified and difficult to delineate. In this essay I will outline the argument that Australia’s national day should reflect both its present day society and history, with the help of articles from ‘The Conversation’, ’Modern Australia’s defining moment came long after the First Fleet’ and ‘Australia Day nationalism walks in the footsteps of ugly precedents.’ Australia day should be completely unrelated to British colonialism and its catastrophic impacts on Aboriginal people and their culture and encompass the multicultural society it is today. More significantly however, it should quite simply be a day that has significant historical relevance for present day
White and his men dropped anchor off the Outer Banks of North Carolina and rowed toward the island. Crewman sounded familiar tunes on trumpets to alert the colonists, but not a single human figure was seen. The landing party made its way through the woods to the settlement at the island’s northern end. Bracing himself for the worst, White entered the clearing where he had parted from the colonists, including his daughter, Eleanor Dare and his granddaughter, the first child born in the colonies, Virginia Dare (Davis, 2009). He found the settlement deserted, weeds and vines sprouting where houses had once stood. The houses themselves had been carefully dismantled and removed. Gone, too, were the fort’s small cannon; buried chests were found, containing some of the colonists’ possessions. All the evidence suggested a planned and orderly withdrawal (McGill, 2009).
Australia’s identity has always been a complicated one. Starting with Aboriginal genocide, 1800’s cowboys and villains, two world wars and a bunch of poems describing them, it makes it difficult to conclude on what being an ‘Aussie’ really is. Thankfully, the two thought-provoking poems Nobody Calls Me a Wog Anymore by Komninos Zervos, and My Country by Dorothea Mackellar both use their discerning selection of themes to reflect modern attitudes in some extent. Along with their themes, Nobody Calls Me a Wog Anymore and My Country both use their story to capture the attributes modern Australians possess to some degree.
Whether it be marching in an ANZAC day parade, seeing the green and gold boxing kangaroo flag at a sporting event or singing the national anthem, Australians are known for showing ‘true Aussie pride.’ In The Castle, Darryl’s pride is evident when his daughter becomes the first member of the family to receive diploma of Hairdressing. As Darryl stares at Tracey’s graduating certificate, Dale talks about how proud his dad is of his little girl. He states in his narration, “Dad reckons the day Tracey told him she was accepted into Sunshine Tafe for Hairdressing was about the proudest day of his life.” Rupert McCall’s poem Green and Gold Malaria is also another great example of the moments when Australians have shown true Aussie Pride. In his poem he talks about how he felt pride in his country when, “Banjo takes me down the Snowy River,” “It flattened me when Bertrand raised the boxing kangaroo” and “And when Perkins smashed the record, well, the rashes were true blue.” (McCall, R) McCall has shown in his poem the strong spirit of Australian’s and the proud moments in our history where Australians have shown true Aussie
The representation of Indigenous Australians in fiction and nonfiction texts are influenced by a range of factors. In the contemporary world of multicultural Australia, there has been a variety of ways groups of people are represented in texts. The Indigenous population is often portrayed in ways that strengthen harmful stereotypes. However, there are also a variety of positive outlooks and portrayals expressing their strength and achievements. In texts studied in year 8 English, the representation of Indigenous Australians in Crow country are characterized as outcasts and reflect cultural distinction. Newspaper articles regarding “Adam Goodes” demonstrates how preconceived thoughts from many Australians destroys sporting stars outlook upon
Australian’s have a unique proud culture. This culture differentiates them from the British motherland. Through many decades Australia has formed a unique, which at its foundation is made from mateship. Mateship or friendship is the core of Australian identity as this was instilled into them through events such as war. WWII in particular demonstrates the level of mateship shown by Australians as many made the ultimate sacrifice in order to save a mate. The stories of ‘The Magic Pudding’ by Gary Crew & Shaun Tan and ‘Memorial’ by Norman Lindsay will demonstrate how mateship is a significant part of how Australians see
Noel Pearson’s speech ‘an Australian history for us all’ discusses his approach to trying to solve some of the most systemic problems facing Australian Aboriginals today. The speakers are successful in understanding the ideas and values of the speech. Through the uses of various language techniques and context, Pearson’s speech details the struggles of the relationship between the first European settlers and Aboriginal Australians.
As a nation, Australia in both a contemporary and historical sense shows a wide kaleidoscope of values and attitudes. Through Matt Ottley’s multimodal narrative Requiem for a Beast, these values and attitudes are prominently demonstrated through its mode and medium. The abhorrent, but still prevalent event of the Stolen Generation plays an immense role in both the values and attitudes that contemporary Australia is known for. As a large portion of this narrative is based on the impact it had on the Indigenous both at the time and to this day, this narrative is told through the perspective of three separate individuals: An Aboriginal Elder, a young boy, and a narrator. Between 1905 and 1969 Australia was known as the first nation to attempt in breeding out an entire race, and this began the legacy that the Australian government was known for.
Australia has always been centered around diversity and change, specifically with the vast multiculturalism and migrant culture throughout the nation. The specifics of Identity hold an important role in shaping our identity as students and as a nation. Australians pride themselves on being a land of the free and full of diverse culture. This is specifically referred to in our national Anthem; “For those who've come across the seas, We've boundless plains to share; With courage let us all combine,”(McCormick, 1984). Displaying Australia’s open attitude towards immigrants and contributes to the diversity present within our society today. Even before this, much of Australia’s Identity was associated with caucasian culture (Originating from British Settlers). Which is the dominant perception of Australia through the media with australian representation being present through the stereotypes of Bogans, which was made popular through shows like Kath and Kim (ABC, 2007). Also, represented through the popular depiction of Australian people - the bushman made popular by movies like Crocodile Dundee (Faiman, 1986) and through famous real life bushman; Steve Irwin. An important aspect of Australian identity which is consistently neglected is the culture and representation of the initial owners of the land; the aboriginal people. Throughout history the constant mistreatment and neglect of the indigenous, has lead to a massive gap in privilege between the aboriginal people and our
Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative was published anonymously by someone who wanted to protect Rowlandson as a woman author. Davis writes, the publisher “claims credit for persuading this modest woman to allow publication of her private material and gives credibility to a work that would not be allowed to stand on its own because of its female author” (58). While the publisher takes credit for getting Rowlandson to publish her captivity narrative, he also encourages the audience in the preface to “accept the work” of Rowlandson, a woman. He even reminds the audience that Rowlandson is the wife of a minister (Davis 58). By doing all of this, he is trying to make sure the audience does not discredit her work simply because it was written by a woman.
Smasher represents the fictionalized version of a historical truth, that many colonisers were violent against the Indigenous people. However, Grenville also shows the other side of the debate, using the characters of Thomas Blackwood and Dick Thornhill. Her black arm band characters show the understanding and grief of what the colonisers were doing to the Aboriginals. Blackwood, a sympathetic character towards the Aboriginals, fathered a child to one and living amongst them, learning their language “Blackwood answered her, and at first Thornhill thought that he was blurring the words together and swallowing them in his usual way. It took him a moment to realise that Blackwood was speaking in her own tongue” (Grenville 216). While Dick’s childhood revolves around the interactions with the local Indigenous children “he had seen Dick there on a spit of sand, playing with the native children, all bony legs and skinny arms shiny like insects, running in and out of the water. Dick was stripped off as they were, to nothing but skin. His was white and theirs was black, but shining in the sun and glittering with river-water it was hard to tell the difference”
The novel The secret river written by Kate Grenville and the film One night the moon directed by Rachael Perkins both use conventional features such as symbolism, irony ,characterisation and juxtaposition to highlight the views of each society, the conflict and the acceptance held between the European and Aboriginals. Grenville portrays the European society eager for a fresh start on the land of Australia, as disapproval of the traditional land owners the Aborigines holds conflict between the two cultures. Both Grenville and Perkins present the readers and viewers with the challenging question of that confines both society rights of the land, urging us to remove ourselves from restrictions such as culture,