Wild Geese: freedom vs. enslavement

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The struggle between freedom and restriction is thoroughly explored in Martha Ostenso’s work Wild Geese. The constant battle between desire and duty plays a paramount role in the renowned novel. Although this theme manifests many aspects of the work, it is the contrast between Lind Archer and Judith Gare that truly represents the tension between freedom and bondage. Judith and Lind, although similar in some regards, are fundamentally opposite in many aspects of their being. Physically, Judith and Lind represent two poles of a spectrum. Throughout the novel Lind is described as soft, delicate and feminine. Her nature exudes a grace and beauty that fits well into the stereotypical view of what a proper ‘lady’ should be. Her appearance can be attributed to her freedom. Lind’s delicate beauty and graceful nature stem from the fact that she is not forced to do physically demanding work. It is because of this exemption from labour that Lind is able to take the time and care to use fragranced oil, soft soap and delicate clothing. Lind’s beauty is foreign to the Gare’s and she is often admired within the household: “Amelia glanced at her quickly and saw how pretty she was in a blue silk gown that seemed to make her hair even more lustrous and her skin more delicate” (Ostenso, 39). Judith offers a sharp contrast to Lind’s dainty nature. Judith possesses a powerful, wild and strong character that has been hardened through years of strenuous work. Her physical appearance is introduced in the opening chapter, “she had a great, defiant body, her chest high and broad as a boy’s” (Ostenso, 8). Judith’s raw power and physical strength illustrate her enslavement to both the land and her father. The powerful difference between Judith and Lind’s physical appearance expresses the central theme of freedom versus bondage. The use of love throughout the novel is another way in which

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