Secret River

Topics: Kate Grenville, The Secret River, Elizabeth Hardwick Pages: 3 (1064 words) Published: January 22, 2013
Thesis: An individual’s conflicting familial relationship, plays a significant role in shaping their sense of identity.

The importance of a person’s relationship with the ‘world’ in shaping their sense of ‘identity’, is explored through an individual’s conflicting familial relationship, which plays a significant role in shaping their sense of identity. The idea of a conflicting familial relationship is shown in both Kate Grenville’s novel ‘The Secret River’ and in Robert Lowell’s poem, ‘The Dolphin.’ These texts, conveys in detail the hostility between familial relationships. These texts also express similar id3eas but in different ways: in ‘the secret river’, a convict struggles to enforce his authority, at the cost of the relationship with his wife, whereas in ‘the dolphin’ a manic depressive poet feels inferior in his conflicting relationship with his former wife, Elizabeth Hardwick.

In ‘The Secret River,’ the physical and verbal separation between William Thornhill and his wife Sal creates a conflicting familial relationship. ‘The lack of communication between Thornhill & Sal, generates further division between each other as Sal ‘gave no sign that she had heard’ him spoke. The use of symbolism "Thornhill worked beside her but she seemed to be making sure there were always a few plants between them,” indicates the distinction between Thornhill & Sal, as well as highlighting a lack of intimacy and communication between each other. This lack of intimacy shows the importance of a person’s physical relationship with the world around them in shaping their sense of identity.

Unlike Thornhill’s lack of intimacy which causes a conflicting familial relationship. Lowell’s poem shows the individual’s conflicting familial relationship as a result from the annulment of his relationship with Elizabeth Hardwick. This is evident in the metaphorical depiction of “a captive as Racine.” This metaphorical comparison to Racine, who’s an eighteenth century...
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