Representations of Aboriginal People in the Novels of Kate Grenville, Doris Pilkington and Kim Scott

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Masaryk University
Faculty of Arts

Department of English
and American Studies

English Language and Literature

Representations of Aboriginal People in the Novels of Kate Grenville, Doris Pilkington and Kim Scott Master’s Diploma Thesis

Supervisor: Mgr. Martina Horáková, Ph.D.

2008

I declare that I have worked on this thesis independently,
using only the primary and secondary sources listed in the bibliography.

……………………………………………..
Author’s signature

Acknowledgement:

I would like to thank Mgr. Martina Horáková, Ph.D. for her kind help and valuable advice. Many thanks also need to go to the Department of English and American Studies. I can not omit to express many thanks to my family and everybody that encouraged me to write this work.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction…………………………………………………………………………...5 1.1 The Concept of Aboriginality …………………………………………………….8 2. Aboriginal Writing ………………………………………………………………….15 2.1 Doris Pilkington – Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence …………………………….21 2.2 Kim Scott – True Country ………………………………………………………27 2.3 Kate Grenville – The Secret River ………………………………………………31 3. Portrayal of the Aboriginal Protagonists ……………………………………………38 3.1 Molly …………………………………………………………………………....40 3.2 Billy ……………………………………………………………………………..42 3.3 Fatima …………………………………………………………………………..46 3.4 Scabby Bill and the Aboriginal People of the Hawkesbury River ……………...48 4. The Relationships between the White People and the Indigenous Inhabitants ...…..52 5. The Relationship to the Land ……………………………………………………….57 6. Parallels and Similarities in the Novels …………………………………………….60 7. Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………….63 8. Works Cited ………………………………………………………………………...66

1. Introduction
The aim of my thesis is to analyze the representations of Aboriginal people[1] in selected Australian novels. I have chosen three novels to trace and explore various kinds of portraying Indigenous people in literature. I will examine and compare portrayal of Aboriginal people in Kate Grenville’s The Secret River (2005), Doris Pilkington’s Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence (1996) and Kim Scott’s True Country (1993). These three novels are written from personal point of view of each author and they use different narratives and techniques. Each of these authors comes from a different background and each of the books deals with different part of Australian history. In my thesis that analyses three novels by Grenville, Pilkington and Scott, I argue that despite the fact that they differentiate in their style and structure, their purpose is very similar – they represent the instrument of bringing Aboriginal people closer to non-Aboriginal readers. I explore representations of the Aboriginal characters in the novels, where the significance of the Aboriginal past and cultural heritage is emphasized. There is also a great diversity of the characters in these three works but still they represent a certain group of people and show the life of the Aboriginal folk. I have attempted to find some common features, although the books do not describe the Aboriginal people from the same period of time. All these works have contributed significantly not only to Australian literature as such, but also to the broader context and perception of Aboriginality. Each work is unique and their originality enables them to occupy a significant place in Australian literature. The introductory part of the thesis deals with the concept of Aboriginality. Various stereotypes of Indigenous inhabitants of Australia and their complicated situation are discussed. The second chapter is devoted to the Aboriginal writing which is an inseparable part of Australian literature. Each author is presented in a separate chapter including the introduction of the analyzed novels as well. A lot of attention is paid to historical and cultural background of the novels and the authors...
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