The Secret River

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The Secret River Extract - Oral Report

Introduction:There is one struggle in life that everybody, not only those in urban societies, but throughout history, has experienced. It is inevitable and the consequences are felt for generations. That struggle is known as conflict. The Secret River, a novel written by Australian author Kate Grenville, details the conflict between two incomparable societies. The dichotomy of the European and aboriginal cultures are foregrounded within Pages 90 – 92.

Body 1:Grenville’s incessant personification of the Aborigines’ appearance to match the land works to marginalize the nature of European culture, as “Humanising the landscape could be a way of showing the link between indigenous people and their land because, in some way that I recognized without really understanding, the country was the people.” This notion is evident within, “The sunlight fell on the crags and slopes of his face, the eyes cast into deep shadow beneath the ridge of brow. The creases beside his mouth could have been carved in stone.” Grenville’s personification and allusions to the “crags,” “slopes,” “ridge[s],” and “stone” of the land bestow upon “Scabby Bill” aspects of his own country and work to naturalise and privilege Aboriginal culture. Furthermore the differences between these two cultures are exposed through the juxtaposition of the European settlers social practices and morals. “Sal blurted out a high embarrassed laugh, and turned away from his nakedness. Thornhill saw the colour flood into her face… and smiled to see that cheeky wife of his reduced to confusion by a shameless black man.” In the eyes of a colonial Australian, Scabby Bill’s nakedness is no longer apart of the land and has become an intrusion into their social practices. This stimulates a stark contrast in the cultural identity of the Aborigine and European settler societies.

Body 2:Forthwith, the discourse adopted by the colonial Australian settlers throughout the...
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