The Secret River

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 846
  • Published : May 30, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
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 contrasting characterization of these two men allows readers to view the events and issues faced in the text from two completely different positions.

One of the characters in the novel The Secret River is Smasher Sullivan. Smasher is a mean spirited man who has a profound hatred for the Aboriginals, and he states to have no problem ‘teaching a lesson to any aboriginal who sets foot on my land’. He kills, kidnaps and sexually abuses Aboriginal women and children. Readers infer Smasher’s horrid nature is due to oblivion and a lack of understanding and education about the aboriginals. Smasher believes the Aboriginals to be nothing but savages. This was a common viewpoint of the settlers at this point in white settlement. Many were ignorant and felt the Aboriginals were inferior to the whites. There was a great deal of hypocrisy among the whites and blacks in the early colonisation of Australia. This can be seen when Smasher demands that the Aboriginals should be massacred after killing his friend, although Smasher and the deceased Saggity were responsible for the death of a large number of Aboriginal people, including children and women. These double standards were in place because of the white dominance, and the ideology that...
tracking img