Getting a Head : Dismembering and Remembering in Robert Drewe’s The Savage Crows

Abstract

The article examines the use of bodily metaphors of dismemberment and beheading in Drewe’s novel about the fate of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, The Savage Crows, in the light of the Western historic notion of the ‘social body’ and the body of the state. It concludes that ‘In a critique of the ways in which contemporary Australian society rests on but denies the fragmentation and dismemberment of Aboriginal communities in the past, this novel dismembers and fragments a contemporary Aboriginal community, and in the process, repeats the theft of William Lanney’s head for white purposes, in order to produce a coherent (white social) body … at the close of the narrative’ (65).

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Published 1 May 2003 in Volume 21 No. 1. Subjects: Aboriginal Australians, Aboriginal Australians - Literary portrayal, Aboriginal contact history, Colonialism & imperialism, Historical fiction, Metaphors, Social structure, Tasmania.

Cite as: Martin, Susan K.. ‘Getting a Head : Dismembering and Remembering in Robert Drewe’s The Savage Crows.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 21, no. 1, 2003. https://doi.org/10.20314/als.3d93fa1f32.