Black Diggers

Black Diggers

by

Tom Wright

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Bob Character Analysis

A friend of Norm and Ern’s who enlists in the military alongside them and ends up injured with them in Abbeville. Blinded and with bandages covering his eyes, Bob laments that he has nothing beyond lifelong, backbreaking labor to return to in Australia, a country he fought for but no longer believes in.

Bob Quotes in Black Diggers

The Black Diggers quotes below are all either spoken by Bob or refer to Bob. 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

RETIRED SCHOOLMASTER: Think about what it might mean, if swathes of Mahommedan Turks or creeping armies of sausage-breathed Huns over-ran our country, imposing their foreign ways, interfering with our women. Imagine the horrors of what it would be like if we were to lose, and you wake up one morning and find us all under occupation.

HARRY: Yeah. Imagine.

They laugh. The old bloke moves on muttering under his breath. They join him, mimicking him at first, but one of them has a bass-drum, their parade of mimicry becomes a rallying march.

Related Characters: Harry (speaker), Retired Schoolmaster (speaker), Ern, Norm, Bob
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

ERN: Soldiers. If you can fire a gun and stand in the sun, they might pretend to forget you’re …

NORM: What??

Related Characters: Ern (speaker), Norm (speaker), Bob
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

I’m sorry, son, I have no idea what to do with this. With you. Wait here.

He goes and talks to a superior. There is much consulting of books and disagreements until a half dozen men are all scratching their heads and carrying on.

Anyone have the slightest idea what “Substantially European” means?

Related Characters: Recruiting Sergeant (speaker), Ern, Norm, Bob
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

It needed to be seen; these extraordinary specimens, these gallant figures, resolute as they were silhouetted against a foreign sky, they had the toughness, the ingenuity of the land of their birth. They had come to the other side of the globe to defend noble ideals; to protect motherhood, the safety of law, the sanctity of liberty, to fight for their King and all His Majesty carries … truly, from some confused, even shambolic frontier, the Australian has arrived. Fair, clear of eye, the finest of the British race cast anew under a southern sun. These boys are us, those that remain; those that returned. The greatness of the White Man, rendered greater still by peril, fighting not just for God and Empire, but to define what it is to be a man, an Australian man, in this our young Commonwealth …

Related Characters: Ern, Norm, Bob
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Black Diggers LitChart as a printable PDF.
Black Diggers PDF

Bob Character Timeline in Black Diggers

The timeline below shows where the character Bob 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
...Gwyndir,” a stick-carrying white Retired Schoolmaster tells a group of boys—Harry and his mates Norm, Bob, and Ern—about the “quiet war” that “could easily threaten all that is right, and true,... (full context)
Australian Nationhood and Indigenous Dispossession Theme Icon
Racism Theme Icon
In the year 1916, Norm, Bob, and Ern are in Brisbane’s Boundary Hotel wondering about what will happen to their “army... (full context)
Australian Nationhood and Indigenous Dispossession Theme Icon
Racism Theme Icon
...Appearance.” On the street, Norm reveals that his own form says “Flat feet (Aboriginal),” and Bob that his says “No White Parentage.” (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Ern, Norm, and Bob go to another recruiting hall in order to “do it different this time.” A number... (full context)
Australian Nationhood and Indigenous Dispossession Theme Icon
Racism Theme Icon
Ern, Norm, and Bob pose on Queen Street for a photo, joking that their families and friends “back home”... (full context)
Australian Nationhood and Indigenous Dispossession Theme Icon
Racism Theme Icon
War, Violence, and Shell Shock Theme Icon
...out to be the famous one in Abbeville, Norm has bandages on his ears and Bob on his eyes, while Ern is wearing a sling for his arm. Ern says the... (full context)