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Mysteries Of The Secret River Essay

714 words - 3 pages

What secrets of history dwell rooted in the emotional depths of the muddled Australian river? Kate Grenville, an Australian author delves into the conflicts, encounters and relations between the Indigenous Australians and the European settlers within her novel ‘The Secret River’. The Secret River is part of a trilogy, published in 2005 and is a piece of historical fiction set upon the colonisation of Australia. Grenville uncovers a perspective on the bloody and fierce events that have been lost to time and hidden by people in the past. The novel is portrayed from the point of view of an unfairly deported convict, called William Thornhill from 19th century London, who struggles to live side ...view middle of the document...

William is deported to the New South Wales colony, Sydney, for stealing, this is when the prologue takes off.
The novel consistently contrasts two seemingly opposing themes of peace and conflict through character development. On arriving in Australia, Grenville presents both the conflicting paths, the path Australia could have taken of co-existence, and the path Australia did take, a path of death and despair. With the establishment of Thornhill’s point, the conflict between the settlers and Indigenous heightens when William must decide on how to resolve the conflict. The characters surrounding him influence his decisions throughout the novel. William’s initial assumption that his land was empty is soon challenged with the forever watchful eyes and cave paintings left by the indigenous. William is torn between Smasher Sullivan’s racist disregard of the indigenous and his belief that they are vermin and must be treated like vermin. The modest approach is represented by Thomas Blackwood who follows the mindset of ‘take a little, give a little’. Smasher shows the violence in which...

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