Author Faculty (Discipline)

Education

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2023

Early Online Version

10-14-2022

Journal

Journal of Australian Studies

ISSN

1835-6419

Embargo Period

10-25-2024

ANZSRC / FoR Code

4705 Literary studies

Reportable Items (HERDC/ERA)

C1

Abstract

This article examines how Aboriginal conceptions of time and space in Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria and Janette Turner Hospital’s Oyster affect representations of personal, cultural and ecological trauma through privileging sites of wounding that embody Country. The four elements of air, water, earth and fire are central to understanding how each text navigates the complex relational matrices of Aboriginal traumas and respond to ongoing issues of genocide and dispossession that are part of Australia’s tragic history. Elemental energies in these novels are connected to powerful spaces that pain inhabits and moves through, which provide insights into the significance of Carpentaria and Oyster’s engagement with Aboriginality and trauma, particularly when situated within the context of legislature including the Native Title Act of 1993 and the Wik judgement of 1996. Elemental motifs perform a cyclical function that begins with deep connectedness to oceanic imagery in Carpentaria, then transitions to trauma inflicted on Country and culminates in a cathartic watery Armageddon. While Oyster’s consideration of elemental traumatic space is primarily attributed to land, cartography and wounded bodies, the novel’s narrative threads reach a similar apocalyptic denouement to Carpentaria. Oyster’s cataclysmic fires of destruction are eclipsed by the regenerative potencies of water that rejuvenate Country and supplant horror with beauty.

Link to publisher version (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.1080/14443058.2022.2131872

Peer Review

Before publication

Comments

Due to copyright restrictions this article is unavailable for download.

Available for download on Friday, October 25, 2024


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