Essay on The Secret River

1141 WordsMay 20, 20135 Pages
The Secret River Essay Characters in the text The Secret River by Kate Grenville represent a variation of attitudes and views towards the colonisation of Australia and the Aboriginal Australians. While many characters are indecisive about their opinion on the natives, some characters have a clear mind-set on how they are to be treated. The characters of Thomas Blackwood and Smasher Sullivan represent the two very different sides of the moral scale, and the other characters fit between these sides. Smasher is a vicious, cold-hearted man who shows no respect or humanity towards the Aboriginals. On the other hand, Blackwood’s character contrasts Smasher with his humanity and general respect to the original owners of their new home. The…show more content…
The harsh perspective allows the readers to comprehend the immensity of racism and brutality suffered during this time. Although Smasher dies during the brutal massacre of the Aborigines, the massacre itself symbolises his dominating, violent philosophy. If the characters were all as optimistic as some of the other characters such as Blackwood, readers would get an inaccurate and bias description of the events that Kate Grenville recounts in the novel. Smasher’s character is significant because he represents an honest portrayal of the ignorant, cruel and discriminating mindset of many settlers in post-colonial Australia. He challenges the values of many other characters in the text, and in many cases, our own values as readers. Thomas Blackwood is a character that takes a different approach to the native people of his new home. The moderate approach symbolised by Thomas Blackwood suggests the possibility to live side by side with the Aboriginals. The character of Blackwood is a moral, authoritive figure. He doesn’t worry about being greedy and rich, he just wants to make a decent living and live in peace. He is content with his life and doesn’t require tto inflict brutality on the Aboriginals. Of all the characters in the novel, Blackwood has the greatest appreciation and knowledge of the Aboriginals and their culture. He speaks the local language,
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