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Please give an analysis on "Half Caste Girl" by Judith Wright.

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swarnamalis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:55 AM via web

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Please give an analysis on "Half Caste Girl" by Judith Wright.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 21, 2013 at 5:42 AM (Answer #1)

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This poem concerns "little Josie," the half caste aboriginal girl of the title, who in this poem is presented as a restless spirit. Having died and being buried under the earth, the spirit of this girl dwells in some sort of Purgatory that she is not able to flee from. Note, for example how the poem ends:

Little Josie buried under the bright sun
Would like to open her eyes and dance in the light.
Who is it had covered the sun and the beautiful moon
With a wallaby skin, and left her alone in the night?

What is interesting about the poet's presentation of Jodie is that she both belongs and is not allowed to belong to the landscape of which she is a part and to which she has such a profound link. On the one hand, this quote suggests she wants nothing more than to "dance in the light," and to be at one with nature. However, there is a "wallaby skin" that has covered her that isolates her and prevents her from becoming united with nature in the way that she desires. In one sense this poem can be read as exploring the challenges of the peculiar hybrid identity of half caste people. At the same time, Josie simultaneously belongs and is prevented from belonging. She is both aboriginal and white, and therefore occupies a curious position that rules out completely identifying herself as aboriginal. Josie therefore symbolises to a certain extent the victims of white colonial oppression in Australia and the way that they have been treated so terribly by the whites. Even in death, it is suggested, they are unable to return to nature in the way that they would like because of the consequences of the actions of the whites who have oppressed them.

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