The Secret River

by

Kate Grenville

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Mrs. Herring Character Analysis

Mrs. Herring lives alone on the Hawkesbury River with only a few chickens. She smokes a pipe and is the closest thing to a doctor on the river. Though the natives steal from her, she turns a blind eye. She insists that she has enough and doesn't need to make a show of asserting her dominance.

Mrs. Herring Quotes in The Secret River

The The Secret River quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Herring or refer to Mrs. Herring. 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 3: A Clearing in the Forest Quotes

And between the words, unspoken, Thornhill heard the real reason: Sal was only the wife of an emancipist.

Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Herring Character Timeline in The Secret River

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Herring appears in The Secret River. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 3: A Clearing in the Forest
Social Order, Hierarchy, and Class Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...but hopes that Sal will think that these are stories and not factual. The widow Mrs. Herring arrives. She tells Sal that because she lives alone, she gives the natives what they... (full context)
Social Order, Hierarchy, and Class Theme Icon
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...roots are edible, like yams, and the natives gave him some when he first arrived. Mrs. Herring agrees that the daisies are sweet, and Blackwood tells Thornhill that once you dig up... (full context)
Social Order, Hierarchy, and Class Theme Icon
...Mary frets. Sal wakes one morning with hard breasts and a fever, so Thornhill fetches Mrs. Herring . Mrs. Herring insists that Sal must keep nursing and use poultices on her breasts.... (full context)
Part 4: A Hundred Acres
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
...that the natives have been around for three weeks. She says that she spoke to Mrs. Herring , who said that the natives come more than they go. Finally, she looks Thornhill... (full context)
Part 5: Drawing a Line
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Language, Literacy, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...night and makes his way to the lit hut, where he finds Sal entertaining Smasher, Mrs. Herring , Sagitty, Loveday, Blackwood, and another neighbor. When Thornhill enters, Sagitty and Smasher tell him... (full context)
Social Order, Hierarchy, and Class Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Smasher is livid. Mrs. Herring says that the natives can be quite charming and recounts pulling the same kind of... (full context)
Social Order, Hierarchy, and Class Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...continues the tirade. Smasher mimes shooting a gun and shouts that the natives understand that. Mrs. Herring silences Smasher, and Thornhill wonders if all the men present had been invited to have... (full context)
Language, Literacy, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...the owners of those farms are allowed to "drive them away by force of arms." Mrs. Herring and Sal grab the paper and pore over it in case Loveday made a mistake... (full context)
Part 6: Mr. Thornhill's Villa
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...to the trees and the garden carefully, but nothing thrives except for a geranium from Mrs. Herring . Most of the trees die, and Sal walks down to the living ones in... (full context)