The Secret River

by

Kate Grenville

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Long Bob (or Long Jack) Character Analysis

Long Bob is one of the younger Aboriginal men living around Thornhill Point. When Thornhill comes upon him teaching children, including Dick, how to make fire, the men introduce themselves to each other. Thornhill can't understand more than the first sound of the man's name and begins calling him Long Jack, having originally called him Long Bob. At the end of the novel, Long Jack is the only Aborigine known to be living on the Hawkesbury River. He suffered major injuries during the massacre at Blackwood's, and limps to this day as a result. He refuses Mr. Thornhill's offers of clothing, food, and shelter. When Mr. Thornhill becomes frustrated at this, Long Jack tells Thornhill in English that the land belongs to him, not Thornhill.

Long Bob (or Long Jack) Quotes in The Secret River

The The Secret River quotes below are all either spoken by Long Bob (or Long Jack) or refer to Long Bob (or Long Jack). 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:
Social Order, Hierarchy, and Class Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Canongate edition of The Secret River published in 2007.
Part 4: A Hundred Acres Quotes

How did it apply to a moment like the one down by the blacks' fire, when a white man and a black one had tried to make sense of each other with nothing but words that were no use to them?

Page Number: 205
Explanation and Analysis:

He could hear the great machinery of London, the wheel of justice chewing up felons and spitting them out here, boatload after boatload, spreading out from the Government Wharf in Sydney, acre by acre, slowed but not stopped by rivers, mountains, swamps.

Page Number: 214
Explanation and Analysis:

In the world of these naked savages, it seemed everyone was gentry.

Page Number: 230
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 6: Mr. Thornhill's Villa Quotes

But there was an emptiness as he watched Jack's hand caressing the dirt. This was something he did not have: a place that was part of his flesh and spirit. There was no part of the world he would keep coming back to, the way Jack did, just to feel it under him.

Related Symbols: Cobham Hall
Page Number: 329
Explanation and Analysis:
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Long Bob (or Long Jack) Character Timeline in The Secret River

The timeline below shows where the character Long Bob (or Long Jack) appears in The Secret River. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 4: A Hundred Acres
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Language, Literacy, and Storytelling Theme Icon
...to give the natives names. They call the old man Whisker Harry, and another is Long Bob . One of the younger men they call Black Dick. Sometimes the men watch Thornhill,... (full context)
Social Order, Hierarchy, and Class Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...one day. Sal tells Thornhill to go fetch Dick back. When Thornhill approaches the camp, Long Bob is teaching children, including Dick, how to make fire. (full context)
Social Order, Hierarchy, and Class Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Language, Literacy, and Storytelling Theme Icon
...but Thornhill can't make out anymore than the first sound. He calls the man Long Jack. Long Jack looks secretive. (full context)
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Language, Literacy, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...the black people around him aren't black, per se; they're just skin-colored. He tells Long Jack that he's a fine fellow, but that the white men will get all the black... (full context)
Social Order, Hierarchy, and Class Theme Icon
Language, Literacy, and Storytelling Theme Icon
The next day, Thornhill finds Dick trying to make fire like Long Jack showed him. Thornhill is angry for a moment, but knows that beating Dick again won't... (full context)
Language, Literacy, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...and goes to barter for some kangaroo meat. Whisker Harry accepts the bag, and Long Jack cuts off the kangaroo's foot and part of its leg for Thornhill. Thornhill thinks that... (full context)
Part 6: The Secret River
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Thornhill lets go of the woman he'd held and points the gun at Long Jack. He yells that the corn belongs to him, and the natives, except for Jack, run... (full context)
Part 6: Mr. Thornhill's Villa
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...to the reservation set aside for the natives, they'd see how wrong they were. Long Jack is the only black man still living near the Thornhills on the river. He'd been... (full context)
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Language, Literacy, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Long Jack refuses Sal's offerings. He never wears the clothes and doesn't eat her bread. He occasionally... (full context)
Social Order, Hierarchy, and Class Theme Icon
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Jack says "no." He slaps the ground and says "this me, my place," and strokes the... (full context)