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Type: Thesis
Title: The heaven I swallowed
Author: Hennessy, Rachel
Issue Date: 2009
School/Discipline: School of Humanities: English
Abstract: My novel The Heaven I Swallowed tells the story of Grace Teresa Mary McAllister, a World War II widow who decides to “save” a young Aboriginal girl, Mary, by adopting her into her home, believing she will be able to redeem the child by giving her all the benefits of white society. In Part I of the novel Mary arrives and it soon becomes obvious that her presence is bringing back the deceptions in Grace’s past. In Part II five years have passed and Grace is struggling to cope with the way she treated Mary. Exploring the myth of “for their own good” The Heaven I Swallowed is a tale of the Stolen Generations, told from the perspective of the white perpetrator. The exegesis accompanying the novel, ‘Whose Shoes? Writing The Heaven I Swallowed’, is also divided into two parts. Part I traces my awareness of the Stolen Generation stories and the reasoning behind the decision to narratively take the perspective of a white woman who steals an Aboriginal child. In Part II, I turn to two contemporary literary texts – Kate Grenville’s The Secret River and Gail Jones’s Sorry – to examine different strategies that the non-indigenous writer might employ to counter-act stereotypical representation of Aboriginality. Further analysis of the novel in the lead up to the final draft is then aided by another two texts: Elizabeth Jolley’s The Well and Joyce Carol Oates’s Black Girl/ White Girl. Using these as models – one in regards to a Gothic re-rendering of the work and the other in regards to the depiction of ambiguous race relations – I find a way to reconcile myself with the representation of Aboriginality in The Heaven I Swallowed. Finally, I come to the conclusion that the novelist might often travel a great deal away from their original intent but that these footsteps have to be taken to ensure motivations are justified and one’s conscience is at ease.
Advisor: Jose, Nicholas
Harrow, Janet Gail
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D. ) - University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, 2009
Keywords: creative writing; Aboriginal representation; stolen generations; Kate Grenville; Gail Jones; World War II; white guilt
Description: 2 Volume Set
v. 1 [Novel] The Heaven I swallowed -- v. 2 [Exegesis] Whose Shoes? Writing ’The Heaven I Swallowed’
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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01front.pdfNovel97.66 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
02whole.pdfNovel511.94 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
03front.pdfExegesis19.12 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
04whole.pdfExegesis263.11 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

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