The Secret River

by

Kate Grenville

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Whisker Harry Character Analysis

Whisker Harry is the name Sal and Thornhill give to the old Aboriginal man who lives on and around Thornhill Point. When they first meet, Thornhill slaps Harry on the chest and tells him "no," like a child. Later, when Thornhill watches Harry dancing in the native camp one night, he realizes that Harry is an important figure in his community, worthy of respect, and that slapping him like he did was foolish and disrespectful. At the massacre at Blackwood's place, Thornhill shoots Whisker Harry, killing him.

Whisker Harry Quotes in The Secret River

The The Secret River quotes below are all either spoken by Whisker Harry or refer to Whisker Harry. 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:

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

Page Number: 230
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 5: Drawing a Line Quotes

This old fellow is a book, Thornhill thought, and they are reading him. He remembered the Governor's library, the stern portraits, and the rows of gleaming books with their gold lettering. They could reveal their secrets, but only to a person who knew how to read them.

Related Characters: William Thornhill, Whisker Harry
Page Number: 244
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Secret River LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Secret River PDF

Whisker Harry Character Timeline in The Secret River

The timeline below shows where the character Whisker Harry 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
...Eventually, Thornhill and Sal start 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.... (full context)
Language, Literacy, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...later, Thornhill fills a bag with flour 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... (full context)
Part 5: Drawing a Line
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Language, Literacy, and Storytelling Theme Icon
...calm at this thought. Thornhill watches one dance end and another begin, this one featuring Whisker Harry dancing and singing alone. As he watches, Thornhill realizes that Whisker Harry is a person... (full context)
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Language, Literacy, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Thornhill understands that the natives are watching Whisker Harry dance a story they all know, and he thinks that Harry is a book of... (full context)
Part 6: The Secret River
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Language, Literacy, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
...is trapped between the lagoon and the forest. Spears hit several men and they scream. Whisker Harry steps out and seems to throw his spear in slow motion. Thornhill feels like he's... (full context)
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Justice and Consequences Theme Icon
Thornhill's gun finally goes off. Whisker Harry stands stern for a moment and then folds forward and lies down on his back.... (full context)