Black Diggers

Black Diggers


Tom Wright

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Tommy Character Analysis

A soldier who fights with Bertie at Pozieres. They watch another Indigenous soldier, Frank, get shot and cut a lock of his hair, knowing they cannot give him a traditional burial. Later, they both get buried alive for more than three days and return to Australia extremely traumatized. Back home, Tommy ends up a homeless and anonymous drunk, known only as “Tank Stand Tommy.” In a later scene, a minister gives his eulogy at a funeral that nobody attends. Tommy’s story shows how combat was an often life-shattering experience during World War One, which was only made worse by Australia’s failure to provide its Indigenous soldiers with the services they needed to cope with their trauma.

Tommy Quotes in Black Diggers

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

Your folks do something, over in the West? [BERTIE shrugs] I wouldn’t know where to begin. His you know, his soul will be stuck here. You know what I mean. With all these trees, they will grow here one day all these—what do you call them? Elms and oaks and all that. And all these hedges and the flowers and we don’t know the names of any of them. And when they burn the smoke is different and will lead him a different way.

Related Characters: Bertie (speaker), Tommy
Related Symbols: The Lock of Frank’s Hair
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Black Diggers LitChart as a printable PDF.
Black Diggers PDF

Tommy Character Timeline in Black Diggers

The timeline below shows where the character Tommy 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
Racism Theme Icon
War, Violence, and Shell Shock Theme Icon
At the battle of Pozieres in 1916, Bertie and Tommy fail to understand the last words of another soldier, Frank. They wonder how to properly... (full context)
War, Violence, and Shell Shock Theme Icon
The same scene cuts to Bertie and Tommy “in a hole somewhere.” Bertie announces that he is only 15 and “shouldn’t be here.”... (full context)
War, Violence, and Shell Shock Theme Icon
It is 1916 and Tommy finally gets pulled out of “his living grave,” then begins to cry. The other men... (full context)
Act Two
War, Violence, and Shell Shock Theme Icon
History, Memory, and the Archive Theme Icon
...grave of a pauper, completely alone. He delivers a eulogy to the man, “Tank Stand Tommy,” whose real name nobody knows. People only knew the homeless Tommy for sleeping under his... (full context)