"The Bone People" Notes

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A character’s past is important in any work; whether it be a play, a movie, or a novel, the past is often influential in many ways. It shaped the characters into who they are now, whether that be a good or bad thing. Often something from the past often fuels them to a future goal. In The Bone People by Keri Hulme, the past plays a major part in Kerewin Holmes life, how she feels about it, and how she looks back on it plays a better part of the novel.

Kerewin’s recent past was a horrendous family fight, which she looks upon with bitterness. The fight was so bad, that Kerewin looks upon it with a sense that she no-longer belongs to them, nor they to her. The bitterness and anger she felt because of that fight sent her to live by herself, away from anymore hurt. She closed herself off inside her Tower; “It was the hermitage, her glimmering retreat” (8). Although shutting herself off was eccentric, it helped her to meet Simon, which leads to the events that made the novel what it is.

Although the fight was bad, Kerewin still longs for the ‘her’ of those days. As Kerewin can no longer paint, she just simply lives every day. “…the lightning came. It blasted away my family, and it blasted my painting talent” (34). Kerewin later says how she is in limbo, and how nothing happens. She feels nostalgic, as she wishing she at least had her talent back. Although why she lost her talent is an enigma, how she views the loss helps her actions shape.

Kerewin’s view on her past is very important, as it shapes her future, as well as the actions that get her there.
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