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"The Hunter" By Julia Leigh: How Is The Main Character Constructed To Represent The Novel's Underlying Values And Attitudes?

923 words - 4 pages

In her novel, Julia Leigh has constructed the main character with point of view, setting and characterisation with use of descriptive language to expose the novels underlying values and attitudes. The protagonist develops and transforms throughout the landscape of the novel. "M" is an immoral and destructive being who has no respect for the living; his mission is to hunt and kill the last remaining Tasmanian tiger for a profit making enterprise.Julia Leigh uses limited third person point of view and stream of conscious narration to give us a unique insight into this mans compelling and compulsive nature. We immediately gain an initial impression of M's character; our first reading of him is of someone who perceives himself as superior, "Martin David, Naturalist", he hides his real identity for unknown reasons. It is also explicit early on that M is a precise and self directed character, "he will drink his tea and assess his situation". This is a calculated and approach to his task. M is also an anti social man with numerous references to his distaste for human contact, "He too smiles, nods, and then turns to leave before she can start to ask questions". His anonymity is also reinforced as he is so eager to depart before being questioned.Julia Leigh's construction of M relies heavily on the setting. His mood is directly affected by his ambient setting, his ascent to the peaceful plateau contrasts with his murderous mission to take the life of the thylacine. The ascent inversely affects his mindset as he descends into an animalistic mentality. He physically alters to match his environment also. "Where it is steepest he scrambles on all fours like a cat", his state of mind turns instinctive, similar to that of a predator. "Now M is the natural man, the man who can see and hear and smell what other men cannot". Upon Ms return to the Armstrong family his transition into an emotional state is made, as his affection for the Armstrong family grows, he becomes more and more an emotional being, up until the point where he deliberates about settling down with the family. When he discovers the burning incident he becomes depressed and insane with disappointment. He begins to believe the world has conspired against him, "I have been forsaken, he thinks, the world conspires against me... I did not ask for much... and still I am denied". He feels sorry for himself and contemplates aborting the "mission". He decides to return to the plateau. He begins to forget the Armstrong family as he once again descends into "The natural man". "He comes to think of his fondness for Lucy and the children as an aberration,...

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