Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence

by

Doris Pilkington

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Constable M.J. Riggs Character Analysis

A government official whose title, Protector of Aborigines, is deeply ironic, as Riggs is anything but a protector. Riggs is charged with enforcing a government program in which half-caste, or mixed-race, Aboriginals are rounded up and sent to “schools” which are really internment camps meant to assimilate mixed-race children into white culture and estrange them from their native roots. One day, Riggs comes to the camp outside Jigalong to take Molly, Gracie, and Daisy away from their families and set them off on the long journey to the Moore River Native Settlement. It is Constable Riggs, too, who recaptures Gracie after she separates from Molly and Daisy during their trek through the bush, and he continues to scout the locations of Molly and Daisy after they have already returned to their families, as well.

Constable M.J. Riggs Quotes in Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence

The Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence quotes below are all either spoken by Constable M.J. Riggs or refer to Constable M.J. Riggs. 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:
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the University of Queensland Press edition of Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence published in 2013.
Chapter 5 Quotes

Molly and Daisy had just finished eating when all the camp dogs began barking. All eyes turned to the cause of the commotion. A tall white man stood on the bank above them. Fear and anxiety swept over them when they realized that the fateful day they had been dreading had come at last. They always knew it would only be a matter of time before the government would track them down. When Constable Riggs, Protector of Aborigines, finally spoke his voice was full of authority and purpose.

“I’ve come to take Molly, Gracie, and Daisy with me to go to school at the Moore River Settlement.”

The rest of the family just hung their heads refusing to face the man who was taking their daughters away from them.

Related Characters: Doris Pilkington (speaker), Constable M.J. Riggs (speaker), Molly, Daisy
Page Number: 43-44
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

“It’s a pity that those youngsters have gone ‘native,’ but it cannot be helped. They were attractive children, and ought to have been brought in years ago. This emphasizes the necessity for Police Officers to report the presence of half-caste children in the bush. I know this is done now, but it seems to have been neglected in some districts in the past.”

Related Characters: Molly, Gracie, Daisy, Constable M.J. Riggs
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:
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Constable M.J. Riggs Character Timeline in Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence

The timeline below shows where the character Constable M.J. Riggs appears in Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: Jigalong, 1907-1931
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Loss, Dispossession, and Reclamation Theme Icon
Family, Culture, and Identity Theme Icon
Constable Riggs , Protector of Aborigines, announces that he has come to take Molly, Gracie, and Daisy... (full context)
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Loss, Dispossession, and Reclamation Theme Icon
Altruism vs. Cruelty Theme Icon
At the depot, Constable Riggs leads the girls to a car. Mr. Keeling stops him, and tells him that two... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Journey South
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Loss, Dispossession, and Reclamation Theme Icon
Altruism vs. Cruelty Theme Icon
...up and realize how far they have traveled they are too exhausted to even cry. The Constable does not tell the girls where, exactly, he is taking them, but the girls know... (full context)
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Altruism vs. Cruelty Theme Icon
Constable Riggs drives to a hospital and commits the two sick women, and then hands off Molly,... (full context)
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Loss, Dispossession, and Reclamation Theme Icon
Family, Culture, and Identity Theme Icon
Altruism vs. Cruelty Theme Icon
...writes that someone must have read the letter, but no one responded. Another letter to Constable Riggs , from the Chief Protector of Aborigines, states that the girls have been collected by... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Escape
Racism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Altruism vs. Cruelty Theme Icon
...desert by their families and that attempting to recover them now is futile. Even when Constable Riggs reports to the Commissioner of Aboriginal Affairs to inform him that Molly has recently been... (full context)