Essay Comparing The Secret River 'And We Are Going'

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There is no such thing as a definite true Australian identity. Rather, there are multiple constructed versions, where no one version can be decisively labeled correct of wrong. Both the novel The Secret River and the poem ‘We are Going’ portray an alternative reading of national identity which is resistant to the dominant versions that are based on the twin myths of the Bush and the Anzacs. The first myth is based upon the achievements of the white settlers in an unknown and foreign land, and the second celebrates the courage of the Anzacs. However, these dominant versions work to silence or marginalize particular groups in Australian society. These groups include non-Anglos, women and the indigenous people. On the other hand, the Secret River and ‘We are Going’ challenge the conventional settlement, and foreground the ‘secret river’ of violence and bloodshed which occurred during the forceful takeover of the land. The two texts similarly employ the representations of people, places, events and things to construct a resistant reading. The people featured in both the novel and the poem are employed by the authors to support their resistant…show more content…
In the novel, the whites are represented as being able to appreciate the land, however they still regard it as primarily an economic asset. For example, the author writes, “It was a piercing hunger in his gut: to own it” (Grenville, 2005). On the other hand, the blacks view themselves as part of the land; the land owns them. During the poem, the unique spiritual link that the blacks share with the land is foregrounded. This is achieved via the use of the verse “We are nature” (Noonuccal, 1964). Both texts similarly privilege the way that the Aboriginals view the land, and use this to position the audience to view them as the true owners of the

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