Black Diggers

Black Diggers

by

Tom Wright

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Bertie’s Mom Character Analysis

Although she initially insists that he is making a mistake by trying to enlist in the military, Bertie’s mother agrees to forge his birthdate when he insists, but promises him that his time in the war will be like the circus show he used to attend as a kid: exciting but not willing to accept Aboriginal people as equals. After he writes her a coded letter requesting that she reveal the truth about his age, Bertie’s mother comes to retrieve him from Europe, but he is already overcome with shell shock (PTSD) and essentially nonresponsive. Back in Australia, she laments that he is “not coming back from the world of the grown-ups.”

Bertie’s Mom Quotes in Black Diggers

The Black Diggers quotes below are all either spoken by Bertie’s Mom or refer to Bertie’s Mom. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Australian Nationhood and Indigenous Dispossession Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Playlab edition of Black Diggers published in 2015.
Act One Quotes

Australia. Never heard of it.

Related Characters: Bertie’s Grandad (speaker), Bertie, Bertie’s Mom
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Black Diggers LitChart as a printable PDF.
Black Diggers PDF

Bertie’s Mom Character Timeline in Black Diggers

The timeline below shows where the character Bertie’s Mom appears in Black Diggers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Australian Nationhood and Indigenous Dispossession Theme Icon
History, Memory, and the Archive Theme Icon
Back in Australia two years earlier, at Frying Pan Creek in New South Wales, a woman is working with her son Bertie, who asks her to lie and say he was... (full context)
Australian Nationhood and Indigenous Dispossession Theme Icon
Bertie’s Grandad enters, and Bertie’s mom explains the situation. Grandad notes that they’ve “been fighting for country for a long time.”... (full context)
Australian Nationhood and Indigenous Dispossession Theme Icon
Racism Theme Icon
War, Violence, and Shell Shock Theme Icon
Bertie’s mother agrees to forge Bertie’s birthdate, but warns her son that—just like when, as a child,... (full context)
War, Violence, and Shell Shock Theme Icon
History, Memory, and the Archive Theme Icon
...a field hospital in 1917, a “strangely stiff and unemotional” Bertie dictates a letter to his mother , telling her to reveal his true age and get him sent home. But the... (full context)
Act Two
War, Violence, and Shell Shock Theme Icon
...see that he is “back from the dead.” As he begins to tell his story, Bertie’s mom rushes into the scene and embraces Bertie, telling him how happy she is to see... (full context)
Australian Nationhood and Indigenous Dispossession Theme Icon
War, Violence, and Shell Shock Theme Icon
History, Memory, and the Archive Theme Icon
...Bertie, now 25, simply stares into space and holds the lock of Frank’s hair, as his mum says he is “not coming back from the world of the grown-ups.” Before the land... (full context)