Thursday's Child Analysis

Decent Essays

During the Great Depression, when every ounce of life was bleak, withering, and hopeless, maintaining fortitude through adversity differentiated living another day and meeting the ravenous hands of death. Thursday’s Child, a historical fiction novel written by Sonya Hartnett, explores the struggles of an Australian family during the Great Depression. Harper Flute, the narrator of the novel, reflects on the events of her early life with her family members. Da (Court) is the patriarch of the Flute family and is the deplorable and cowardly father of Audrey, Harper’s older sister, Devon, Harper’s older brother, Tin, Harper’s younger brother, and Caffy, Harper’s youngest brother. Mam (Thora), Harper’s mother, maintains her sense of bravery during …show more content…

When Devon receives a sum of money belonging to the recently deceased Grandda (Court’s father), Ma explains the disagreeable relationship between Court and his father. During World War I, Grandda coerced Da to volunteer as a soldier, because he was jealous that his son was impeding on his chances of ascending the corporate ladder. As Thora describes him, Grandda warned, “’Your children…will forever hang their heads in shame” (Hartnett 76-77). Da finally decides to enter the war, but returns with alive. As a way of permanently preventing Da from jeopardizing Grandda’s career success, he implants the idea of moving into the country into Da’s head. Similar to entering into the war, Da also succumbs to Grandda’s persuasion, and moves into the country with the rest of the Flute family. This dysfunctional relationship between Da and his father is a likely cause for Da’s cowardly nature. Grandda’s cold-hearted nature and disinterest towards his son continuously haunts Da for the rest of his life. For example, after Devon volunteers to work for the sinister Mr. Vandery Cable, he returns him disappointed that he did not receive his week’s wage. Da initially confronts Cable with authority by stating, “Where’s your heart, Mr. Cable?...You owe my son a week’s wages” (59). However, Cable quickly commandeers Court’s confidence and consequently belittles Da. He “wrung his hand in silence, buckling his hat” and “limped” the journey back home. Hartnett’s diction is masterful in transforming Da’s courage and assertion into cowardliness and passivity. This interaction between the affluent pig farmer, Cable, and the impoverished father, Da, is a parallel to Court’s relationship with his father. Similarly, Da is a man that ultimately has no sense of determination or self-confidence in any regard. However, years later, when Audrey returns home after working for

Get Access