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Type: Thesis
Title: 'The Nightwatchers' a novel and 'Breaking English' an exegesis on 'The Nightwatchers'
Author: Kinsman, Melanie Jane
Issue Date: 2012
School/Discipline: School of Humanities
Abstract: The creative work ‘The Nightwatchers’ is a novel with gothic undertones, written for a young adult audience. Twelve-year-old Mattie Russo and her best friend Harry are the ‘nightwatchers’, who entertain themselves by watching the comings and goings of the residents of their apartment block. When five-year-old Sammy goes missing, they play detective, discovering his corpse by the local river. Mattie and Harry realise the murderer is someone from the apartments who’s been watching where the local children play; this puts them in danger. Mattie cannot turn to her illiterate Italian grandmother (Nonna), or her depressed father for help; nor can Harry turn to his drunken, violent parents. When another boy disappears, Mattie and Harry return to the river in search of him, terrified that their silence has cost the boy his life. The plot of the novel is a device to engage the young adult reader; the novel is most importantly a ‘multicultural’ work, drawing attention to the need for cross-cultural communication in Australia. The relationship between Mattie and her Italian migrant grandmother is crucial to the novel. Their struggles to communicate (Nonna’s broken English and Mattie’s inability to speak Italian) mean they must each ‘culturally negotiate’ two cultures. Although the contemporary relevance of the concept of multiculturalism has been contested, I use the arguments of Wenche Ommundsen to support my claim that recognition of cultural difference and representation of minority groups is still important to Australian society and literature. My exegesis, ‘Breaking English’, analyses contemporary sites of ‘cultural negotiation’, including my own experiences of negotiation, both as a ‘writer’ and a supporter of ‘multiculturalism’. I examine multiculturalism in a social and political context, in relation to contemporary literature and to my own novel. I compare my novel to Melina Marchetta’s Looking for Alibrandi and other multicultural young adult narratives. Finally, I consider the process of writing a novel with my illiterate grandmother Esterina as a muse.
Advisor: Hosking, Susan Elizabeth
Edmonds, Phillip Winston
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, 2012
Keywords: young adult fiction; migrant fiction; multicultural fiction; detective fiction
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:
[Pt. 1 Novel]: ‘The Nightwatchers’ -- [Pt. 2 Exegesis]: ‘Breaking English’
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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01front.pdfNovel40.65 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
02whole.pdfNovel418.09 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
03front.pdfExegesis41.63 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
04whole.pdfExegesis310.86 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
PermissionsLibrary staff access only490.28 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
RestrictedLibrary staff access only686.92 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

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