Black Diggers

Black Diggers

by

Tom Wright

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Laurie Character Analysis

A soldier who clearly sees the hypocrisy in his treatment during the war. He first jokes about how he is “arriving in boats uninvited on someone’s beach,” which is exactly what European settlers did before slaughtering his ancestors. Later, he complains that he is constantly sent on dangerous reconnaissance duty, presumably because of his race. He fights in Beersheba with The Light Horse, where he finds common ground with a British captain. Decades later in Australia, however, he works at a church, collecting hymn books, and denies having been in Palestine when another man recognizes him. His recognition of his condition and contradictory confrontations with religious symbolism show that he is both forced to fight for the idea of the Australian nation he cannot bring himself to believe in and permanently excluded from full membership in that nation despite his loyalty.
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Laurie Character Timeline in Black Diggers

The timeline below shows where the character Laurie 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
War, Violence, and Shell Shock Theme Icon
...beach amidst exploding shells, officials cower and prepare for the worst while a soldier named Laurie laughs, wondering “what the old folks would say” about “arriving in boats uninvited on someone’s... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
...a light sweeps past the characters, who fall to the ground. Two white soldiers accost Laurie, arguing that he should know where the light came from because “you have tracking skills... (full context)
Australian Nationhood and Indigenous Dispossession Theme Icon
Racism Theme Icon
On the war’s eastern front, “the day before the attack of Beersheba” in Palestine, Laurie and a British Captain take turns quoting the Bible verses in which the prophet Elijah... (full context)
Act Two
War, Violence, and Shell Shock Theme Icon
Laurie leaves camp, having been decommissioned. Laurie’s friend is surprised to see that he is “back... (full context)
War, Violence, and Shell Shock Theme Icon
In 1937, Laurie collects congregants’ hymn books at a church in the city of Mount Gambier. Someone stops... (full context)