The Secret River
The Secret River Analytical Essay 11th Grade
Early European settlers did not understand that, as the original inhabitants of Australia, the Aboriginal people were entitled to the land, yet they did not claim ownership of it for their possession. However, the Aboriginal people belonged to Australia and its natural environment. Kate Grenville canvasses the concepts of belonging and alienation in her novel “The Secret River” through her manipulation of aesthetic features; symbolism, characterisation, and setting. The literary devices enable the readers to solidify their understanding of the protagonist William Thornhill. Through Thornhill, it is apparent that ownership does not necessarily warrant the sense of belonging. Unlike the Aboriginal people, Thornhill strived to manipulate the realm of land under his possession, yet he was continually alienated.
The symbolism of marks throughout the novel is exploited to emphasize Thornhill’s perpetual attempts to assert ownership on the land. The marks represent the disjunction between man and nature. Thornhill’s belief of entitlement of the land is explicitly portrayed in three incidents; when Thornhill carves a map on the dust to show the Aboriginal men his possession of land (p196); when the dirt is ‘marked with dark stains’...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 1050 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8163 literature essays, 2280 sample college application essays, 354 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in