What is Patricia Grace's short story "Journey" about? What are the important points in the story, and why are they important?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Patricia Grace's short story "Journey" is literally about an elderly native Australian man who takes a "journey" into town, as he calls it, but it is figuratively a description of life's journey of progress. More specifically, it questions just how much "progress" truly is progress. As the man progresses on his journey from taxi to train to town, he comments on all the little things that are both the same and different. In particular, he notes the changes that have been made to the land, such as how the government has laid down an artificial landmass to create more room for railway tracks.

Once he is in town, we learn the old man has taken this journey to try and fight similar land changes. The government is taking land owned by the natives and developing it, as we see when he protests, "... we want nothing more than what is ours already." However, the government is taking too long to develop the land, leaving the man's nieces and nephews without homes, and the man is trying to negotiate a deal in which his nephews and nieces can start building homes immediately in an area different from what the government has already designated will be the residential area. When he protests that his nieces and nephews need homes, he is told that they will be given land of equivalent value. But the natives don't want to live on land of equivalent value; they want to live on land that has "been ours since before we were born." However, sadly, of course the man leaves empty handed and is treated like he is a fool.

Hence, the purpose of the story is to question what governments deem to be development and progress and to show common ways in which natives are mistreated.

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jacquerodd | eNotes Newbie

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I would like to thank both of you for your analyses of Patricia Gale's story, Journey.  However, I would just like to correct a discrepancy within the introduction of both analyses.  The term 'Maori' as identified on page 325 of Stories of Ourselves, "Bet there weren't any Maori's driving those bulldozers..." refers to the indigenous people of New Zealand NOT Australia.  Had you taken the time to check the words 'whanaungas' and 'kai' in the (Maori) dictionary, which Google would have directed you to, you would have found this out. 

My intention in highlighting this, is not to negate what you've done, but purely to point out what is often a common mistake.  I always ask my students to highlight unusual/foreign words and find their definitions, purely to avoid these mistakes. 

The term Aboriginal is used to identify/describe: (...

human races, animals, and plants) inhabiting or existing in a land from the earliest times or from before the arrival of colonists; indigenous // an aboriginal inhabitant of a place (explanation taken from Google).  This also applies to the Native American Indians, Australian Aboriginals and (New Zealand) Maoris.
 
 
 
 

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bryanlin1999 | eNotes Newbie

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No idea why someone down voted this... As a new zealander the moment I saw someone say Australian my brain died (recognized the words straight away from the first two pages) just kind of got lazy reading the rest

yashgobardhan's profile picture

yashgobardhan | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Patricia Grace's short story "Journey" is literally about an elderly native Australian man who takes a "journey" into town, as he calls it, but it is figuratively a description of life's journey of progress. More specifically, it questions just how much "progress" truly is progress. As the man progresses on his journey from taxi to train to town, he comments on all the little things that are both the same and different. In particular, he notes the changes that have been made to the land, such as how the government has laid down an artificial landmass to create more room for railway tracks.

Once he is in town, we learn the old man has taken this journey to try and fight similar land changes. The government is taking land owned by the natives and developing it, as we see when he protests, "... we want nothing more than what is ours already." However, the government is taking too long to develop the land, leaving the man's nieces and nephews without homes, and the man is trying to negotiate a deal in which his nephews and nieces can start building homes immediately in an area different from what the government has already designated will be the residential area. When he protests that his nieces and nephews need homes, he is told that they will be given land of equivalent value. But the natives don't want to live on land of equivalent value; they want to live on land that has "been ours since before we were born." However, sadly, of course the man leaves empty handed and is treated like he is a fool

Hence, the purpose of the story is to question what governments deem to bedevelopment and progress and to show common ways in which natives are mistreated.

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