Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence

by

Doris Pilkington

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Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence: Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Pilkington reveals that her mother, Molly, worked as a domestic helper at Balfour Downs Station for many years. She married and had two daughters, Doris and Annabelle. In November of 1940, less than a decade after her escape, Molly was returned to the Moore River Native Settlement against her will. Doris and Annabelle were brought to the settlement, too, and after Molly was refused permission to return home after news of the death of a family member reached her, Molly ran away again in January of 1941, taking her baby Annabelle along with her. Months later—after taking the same route she’d followed years earlier—Molly and Annabelle arrived home, where they were able to stay. Three years later, however, Annabelle was taken by the authorities, and Molly never saw her again. Molly still lives in Jigalong, and is an active member of the community there.
In this coda to the end of her mother’s story, Doris Pilkington reveals what became of her mother and her two aunts in the years after their historic trek. The recapture which Molly, Gracie, and Daisy feared so deeply would unfortunately come to pass. After her recapture, Molly’s intrepid spirit won out again, and she retraced the steps of her 1931 journey a full decade later. However, despite her efforts, both of her children—Doris and Annabelle—grew up in government settlements. The intergenerational pain of forced assimilation and government-mandated internment is reflected in the true end to Molly’s story.
Themes
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Loss, Dispossession, and Reclamation Theme Icon
Family, Culture, and Identity Theme Icon
Altruism vs. Cruelty Theme Icon
After finishing her education at Moore River, where she was promptly returned to after being recaptured at Wiluna, Gracie left the settlement and began working as a domestic helper on several different farms. She married a young station hand and had six children. She eventually separated from her husband, and passed away in 1983 without ever having returned to Jigalong.
Gracie, unlike Molly and Daisy, never even made it back to her family. The fact that Gracie never returned to Jigalong is symbolic of the inability of most Aboriginals to ever return home—either to the land of their birth and childhood, or to the “home” of their true cultural identity, unmarred by colonialism.
Themes
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Loss, Dispossession, and Reclamation Theme Icon
Family, Culture, and Identity Theme Icon
Altruism vs. Cruelty Theme Icon
After Daisy was reunited with her family, they all moved together to a town south of Jigalong. She trained and worked as a house maid, like Molly and Gracie, and married a station hand with whom she had four children. After her husband passed away, Daisy worked as a housekeeper at a mission. Daisy is still alive, and lives with her children and their families in Jigalong. Pilkington credits Daisy’s “love for storytelling, vivid memory, and zest for life” with having helped her to complete Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence.
Daisy managed to evade recapture—the only one of her sisters to do so. Daisy’s story of “success” in remaining free of the chains of internment is not the story of many Aboriginals who belong to her generation, nor is it Doris’s. Pilkington highlights how lucky Daisy was, and in doing so draws a contrast between the countless numbers of Aboriginal people who were not as fortunate, and who were made to suffer in settlements like Moore River until as late as the 1970s. 
Themes
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Loss, Dispossession, and Reclamation Theme Icon
Family, Culture, and Identity Theme Icon
Altruism vs. Cruelty Theme Icon