The fictional presentation in "The Secret River" by Kate Grenville, exhibits the narrative battleground of the conscience between the white settler family and the Aboriginal people. This text explores the arising conflict when the White settler arrives in the land already occupied by indigenous Aboriginal people and makes distinct insulations of ownership of the foreign property displacing the previous occupants. Grenville rewrites the eighteenth Century history to relive the intercultural conflict that emerged between the indigenous and the non-indigenous. Grenville relays her rich custody of oral traditions passed on to her in her lineage in her efforts to re-envision the lost memories of the cultural and intellectual understanding of the early days. The retold narration on the procurement of the Hawkesbury land and the consequences after that play a significant role as a measure of knowledge on the contemporary reconciliation process in the modern age Australia. The second perspective of claims reveals competition tension between the two groups with a distinct liberal settler subjectivity in the colonial context that penetrated to enable more secure and valuable universal subsystems. This paper will display how Grenville applied the conflict that existed between the aboriginal and the settler communities by showing the distinct differences that emanated conflict as well as the types of conflict and the effects to both parties.
The narration by Grenville rewrites the settlement history that revolves around the colonial emigrant in New South Wales where British convicts like William Thornhill and his family relocates to a new home. He fell in love with the country inspired to own land at the banks of Hawkesbury River. The cooperation of the colonizers' judgment saw Thornhill among other settlers perceive the natives in low opinion. The natives had nothing substantial to their names especially the land they had lived on for so many years. Intercultural conflict emerged between the new settlement and the hosting Aboriginal people of the Darug tribe. The indigenous people's culture did not drive than to make visible markings of ownership on the communal lands they had lived on for so many years. Through the different display of these intercultural differences, that aggravated conflicts between the Aboriginal people and the invading white settlers. Thornhill treated the Aboriginal people as lesser beings when he states; "...a person lower in the order of things even than they were..." (92). This understatement showed Thornhill's perception of the people due to their skin color and accent to display him as s fine being heightening the different types conflict between the settlers and the Aboriginal people.
The environmental conflict that reflected between the white settlers and the Aboriginal people showed how the landscape possessed difficulties for the white settlers to adopt and hostility of the natives made the immigrants vulnerable when the narrator states that; "...not something that could guard against.." (93) The natives felt hostile towards the intruders. The strong devalue of the natives due to their skin color met an equal share of mistreatment from the settlers, for instance, Smasher brutally handled the natives and dismantled their bodies without remorse "... when they were hands cut off at the wrist, the skin was black against the white bone.." (103. The hostile treatment by the white settlers intensified the conflict between the two different groups. The Aboriginal people felt displaced and humiliated. Thus, they began rebelling against the invasion of the white settlers on their indigenous land.
In conclusion, the narration by Kate Grenville displays her in-depth knowledge of the Aboriginal culture to successfully reflect the existing conflict between the natives and the white settlers. The cultural and social differences between the two groups powerfully arouse conflicting perceptions leading to immerse conflict in the historical context of colonization era of the nineteenth century.
Grenville, K. (2005). The secret river. Melbourne: Text.
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