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Literary Analysis Of Kate Grenville's The Secret River

1049 words - 5 pages

Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s best known authors, she was born in 1950 in Sidney, Australia. She has won many national and international awards for her writing about Australia’s past and the interactions that may have been taking place between the first settlers and the aborigines. The Secret River was one of these popular novels, which is exploring the past, although it is only historical fiction. The inspiration for writing these historical fictions, came from the fact that she did not knew much about her ancestors which settled on a river named Hawkesbury River in New South Wales.

William Thornhill is a convict, who has been transported by the ship Alexander to his new home in His Majesty’s penal colony with his family in 1806, which is located in New South Wales. William is not able to sleep the first night; he is plagued by fear and worry about their future at their new home, he thinks about this new prison he is in, guarded not by humans, but by ten thousand miles of sea, he has no chance to return home, and the idea of that he will die under these alien stars scares him.
The same night William encounters an aborigine outside his hut, the aborigine carries a spear and Williams has no arms at all, he tries to force the Aborigine to leave by saying “Be off” and raising his hand, but he aborigine just repeats what William said to him.
William will not let the aborigine hurt the unarmed settlers, but at the same moment the aborigine disappears, leaving William with the horrific though that the darkness could hide hundreds or even thousands of aborigines with spears. He went quickly back into the hut, although it did not offer any protection against what the darkness might hide.

William Thornhill is a 1st person narrator in this novel; the 1st person narration gives the readers of this novel, an exclusive understanding of his situation and thoughts, but he is not an omniscient narrator. This type of narration means that we are only able to observe other characters from his perspective; an example is when he faces the aborigine “It took a moment to understand that the stirring was a human, as black as the air itself. His skin swallowed the light and made him not quite real, something only imagined” – page 2, section 5.
The description of this native man is highly connected and dependent on the narrators experience and thoughts in the situation.
The narrator significantly controls the reader; we get a sense of understanding for his situation, we share his concerns and fear because we are able to read his thoughts, and that may be the main reason for why Kate Grenville uses this narration type.

William Thornhill is a convict likely from England, who has been sent to His Majesty’s penal colony, he is married and a father to two children as well. There is not much information regarding his physical appearance in the novel, although there are many psychological indicators. William is suffering...

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