A white man who rapes May while she’s walking along the beach near her house. This is a traumatic event, which informs May’s disillusionment with her childhood and her decision to leave home. May feels a deep spiritual connection to the ocean, because she’s always lived there and because her tribe, the Wiradjuri, have an affinity for water; however, the rapist tells her that she doesn’t “belong” there and assaults her to assert his ownership of the land and control of the people who live there. This reflects the broader relationship between Aboriginal and Anglo-Australians, who enforce their control of the land by brutal oppression of its original inhabitants.
The Man / The Rapist Character Timeline in Swallow the Air
The timeline below shows where the character The Man / The Rapist appears in Swallow the Air. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
4. My Bleeding Palm
9. The Block