The Secret River

by

Kate Grenville

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William Thornhill Character Analysis

Thornhill is born in 1777 into a large, impoverished family. As a boy he steals in order to eat, but Mr. Middleton saves him by taking him on as an apprentice to become a waterman on the Thames. Thornhill loves the river, though he hates working for the gentry. He loves Mr. Middleton's daughter, Sal, because he doesn't have to be tough around her. They marry the day Thornhill gets his freedom, and they have six children over the course of their marriage. When the Thames freezes one winter, Thornhill's life takes a turn for the worse: he and Sal lose all their money, their boat, and the home they rent. Thornhill begins stealing in earnest and is caught when he tries to steal valuable Brazil wood from Mr. Lucas, a very powerful man. Thornhill is convicted, but Lord Hawkesbury arranges for him to be sent to New South Wales with Sal and Willie instead of being hanged. Although Thornhill initially finds New South Wales foreign and unwelcoming, he comes to appreciate it and find it beautiful. He falls in love with land on the Hawkesbury River when he begins working on the river with Thomas Blackwood. After five years in New South Wales, Thornhill receives a full pardon and convinces Sal to move the family to the Hawkesbury to settle. There, Thornhill comes into contact with the Aborigines. Although he fears them and thinks that they're uncivilized, he comes to realize that they live fulfilling, idyllic lives that strangely resemble the lives of the gentry in England. Thornhill trades successfully with them, which earns him the scorn of his more violently inclined neighbors like Smasher, who view the natives as a threat. Thornhill purchases a gun, thinking it will keep him safe, but the gun never makes him feel safe, and he's a poor shot. Thornhill is roped into participating in the massacre at Blackwood's place after Sal threatens to leave: he loves his land too much and knows the only way to keep Sal and his land is to get rid of the natives. He's fundamentally changed after the massacre. The book ends with Thornhill on the balcony of his massive stone villa, searching for Aborigines in the landscape with his telescope, haunted by his inability to understand or make peace with them.

William Thornhill Quotes in The Secret River

The The Secret River quotes below are all either spoken by William Thornhill or refer to William Thornhill. 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 1: London Quotes

He had a sudden dizzying understanding of the way men were ranged on top of each other, all the way from the Thornhills at the bottom up to the King, or God, at the top, each man higher than one, lower than another.

Related Characters: William Thornhill, Mr. Middleton
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:

Winter wore away, and there it was at last, his whole name: William Thornhill, slow and steady. As long as no one was watching, no one would know how long it took, and how many times the tongue had to be drawn back in.
William Thornhill.
He was still only sixteen, and no one in his family had ever gone so far.

Related Characters: William Thornhill, Sal Thornhill
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

He was struck by the power of words. There was nothing going on in the court but words, and the exact words, little puffs of air out of the mouth of a witness, would be the thing that saw him hanged or not.

Related Characters: William Thornhill, Mr. Lucas, Yates, Mr. Knapp
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2: Sydney Quotes

There were no signs that the blacks felt the place belonged to them. They had no fences that said "this is mine." No house that said, "this is our home." There were no fields or flocks that said, "we have put the labor of our hands into this place."

Related Characters: William Thornhill, Sal Thornhill
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

King George owned this whole place of New South Wales, the extent of which nobody yet knew, but what was the point of King George owning it, if it was still wild, trodden only by black men? The more civilized folk set themselves up on their pieces of land, the more those other ones could be squeezed out.

Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3: A Clearing in the Forest Quotes

Thornhill could not believe he would be able to send a ball of red-hot metal into another body. But being allowed a gun was one of the privileges of a pardon. It was something he had earned, whether he wanted it or not.

Related Characters: William Thornhill
Related Symbols: Guns
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:

Thornhill saw that although this voyage, from Sydney to Thornhill's Point, had taken only a day, and the other voyage, from London to Sydney, had taken the best part of the year, this was the greater distance. From the perspective of this unpeopled riverbank...Sydney seemed a metropolis, different only in degree from London.

Related Characters: William Thornhill, Sal Thornhill, Willie
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:

He had thought that having a gun would make him feel safe. Why did it not?

Related Characters: William Thornhill, Sal Thornhill
Related Symbols: Guns
Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:

Dick would be right, he thought, except that everyone knew the blacks did not plant things. They wandered about, taking food as it came under their hand...But, like children, they did not plant today so that they could eat tomorrow.
It was why they were called savages.

Related Characters: William Thornhill, Willie, Dick
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:

The unspoken between them was that she was a prisoner here, marking off the days in her little round of beaten earth, and it was unspoken because she did not want him to feel a jailer.

Related Characters: William Thornhill, Sal Thornhill
Page Number: 150
Explanation and Analysis:

It was an old pain returning to find that William Thornhill, felon, was waiting under the skin of William Thornhill, landowner.

Related Characters: William Thornhill, Dan Oldfield, Ned
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:

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

Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:
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 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:

He knew, as perhaps they did not, how pointless a thing it was. He could go through the rigmarole of loading it up and squinting along its barrel and firing. But after that, what?

Related Symbols: Guns
Page Number: 246
Explanation and Analysis:

Thinking the thought, saying the words, would make him the same as Smasher, as if Smasher's mind had got into his when he saw the woman in the hut and felt that instant of temptation. He had done nothing to help her. Now the evil of it was part of him.

Related Characters: William Thornhill, Smasher
Page Number: 253
Explanation and Analysis:

They were too cunning to have anything as vulnerable as an army, for they knew what the Governor and Captain McCallum did not: that an army clumping along was as exposed and vulnerable as a beetle trundling over a tabletop.

Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 6: The Secret River Quotes

He was no longer the person who thought that a little house in Swan Lane and a wherry of his own was all a man might desire. It seemed that he had become another man altogether. Eating the food of this country...had remade him, particle by particle...This was where he was: not just in body, but in soul as well.
A man's heart was a deep pocket he might turn out and be surprised at what he found there.

Related Characters: William Thornhill, Sal Thornhill
Page Number: 289
Explanation and Analysis:

"They got no rights to any of this place. No more than a sparrow." He heard the echo of Smasher's phrases in his own words. They sat there smiling and plausible.

Related Characters: William Thornhill, Sal Thornhill, Smasher
Page Number: 290
Explanation and Analysis:

He was reminded of what he had not thought of for years, the yard at Newgate, the men rehearsing their stories so often that they took on the substance of fact.

Related Characters: William Thornhill, Smasher, Sagitty
Page Number: 296
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 6: Mr. Thornhill's Villa Quotes

He would not have thought that William Thornhill could ever have any relationship with a house like this except of the trespasser. But if a man had enough by way of money, he could make the world whatever way he wanted.

Related Characters: William Thornhill
Related Symbols: Cobham Hall
Page Number: 316
Explanation and Analysis:

Under the house, covered by the weight of Mr. Thornhill's villa, the fish still swam in the rock. It was dark under the floorboards: the fish would never feel the sun again. It would not fade, as the others out in the forest were fading, with no black hands to re-draw them. It would remain as bright as the day the boards had been nailed down, but no longer alive, cut off from the trees and light that it had swum in.

Related Characters: William Thornhill
Related Symbols: Cobham Hall
Page Number: 316
Explanation and Analysis:

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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The Secret River PDF

William Thornhill Character Timeline in The Secret River

The timeline below shows where the character William Thornhill appears in The Secret River. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Strangers
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The Alexander, the ship that brought William Thornhill, his wife, Sal, and his two children to New South Wales, had been at... (full context)
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During the months Thornhill spent on the Alexander, he tried to listen for Sal's voice from the women's quarters... (full context)
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Thornhill sees darkness moving in front of him and realizes that a black man has appeared... (full context)
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Thornhill finds himself speechless. He thinks that he already died once and can die again, but... (full context)
Part 1: London
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The Thornhill family lives near the river in London in cramped quarters. The streets are only wide... (full context)
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Once William Thornhill learns his name, he realizes that there are many William Thornhills in the world.... (full context)
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...Mary sew shrouds while Lizzie cares for the babies. She's sweet and motherly, and makes William feel warm and loved. The family is always hungry. Pa works wherever and whenever he... (full context)
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By the time William is ten, he's a fighter and enjoys feeling his rage. He runs around the city... (full context)
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When Ma has more babies, William begins spending time with Lizzie's friend Sal since Lizzie's attention is elsewhere. Sal is an... (full context)
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William and Sal find common ground through their siblings: he has too many, she has too... (full context)
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When William is thirteen, Ma gets very sick. Ma hallucinates that she's a child trying to pet... (full context)
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One day, William finds a group of men in a warehouse opening up a crate of brown sugar.... (full context)
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When William is 14 and the snow comes, the river freezes over. While those more fortunate enjoy... (full context)
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In January, Mr. Middleton takes William to Watermen's Hall to be bound as an apprentice. William is breathless as he thinks... (full context)
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Mr. Middleton introduces William and the robed men ask if William has his "river hands." Mr. Middleton explains that... (full context)
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For the first time, William is well-fed and warm. His blisters never heal and the blood from them stains his... (full context)
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William looks to the woman's leg, covered in silk stockings with green silk slippers on her... (full context)
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William spends his Sundays with Sal since he doesn't have to work. The first winter she... (full context)
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As the years go by, William realizes that he's in love with Sal. He thinks about her while he's on the... (full context)
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William and Sal marry on the day William is freed from his apprenticeship. Mr. Middleton gifts... (full context)
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Sal gives birth to a boy a year later. Though they christen him William, they call him Willie. Thornhill loves Willie, and loves watching Sal care for him. When... (full context)
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Sal and Thornhill visit often. One day they meet Mr. Middleton on his way to an apothecary across... (full context)
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After the Middletons' deaths, Thornhill realizes that their prosperity had been precarious. Mr. Middleton had spent all his savings on... (full context)
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...move forward. She takes it upon herself to find her family cheaper and cheaper rooms. Thornhill admires her tenacity, even as she begins to steal food. Because Sal has never experienced... (full context)
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One day, Sal develops a plan to steal a chicken from their landlord. Thornhill successfully abducts the chicken and gets it up to their room, but before they can... (full context)
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...stolen goods. Collarbone isn't so lucky: he's caught with Spanish brandy and sentenced to hang. Thornhill visits him the day before his hanging and imagines hanging himself. Collarbone asks Thornhill to... (full context)
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Thornhill is hired by Mr. Lucas, a successful man who's rumored to want to be Lord... (full context)
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Yates instructs Thornhill to transport the Brazil wood, along with other timber, to a wharf upriver. Thornhill is... (full context)
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At daybreak, Rob doesn't show up to help Thornhill load the wood. Thornhill hires another man to help and grows angry with Rob. When... (full context)
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At 11 that night, the tide turns and Thornhill guides his boat upstream. He finds the appropriate wharf where he knows his personal boat... (full context)
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Thornhill thinks they've successfully escaped when he hears Mr. Lucas yelling for Yates to get them.... (full context)
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Sal, Lizzie, and Mary visit Thornhill in the Newgate prison. Sal brings Willie, who's four, but Thornhill asks her to not... (full context)
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...word, and near the ceiling are the public galleries. As he stands in the courtroom, Thornhill tries to pick out Sal in the gallery. He can't quite find her, but knows... (full context)
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A lawyer named Mr. Knapp is assigned to represent Thornhill. Mr. Lucas takes the stand first, and Mr. Knapp sets a clever trap: he insists... (full context)
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When Thornhill is allowed to speak, Sal's story disappears from his mind. He insists he's innocent, but... (full context)
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...is to send letters "up the line." She tells him who to speak to, and Thornhill later buys a letter by trading in his wool greatcoat. The letter is to Captain... (full context)
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Captain Watson sends a letter on Thornhill’s behalf to Lord Hawkesbury, who alone has the power to pardon Thornhill. Watson also sends... (full context)
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One morning, a man comes to the cell door and yells Thornhill's name. The man reads quickly that Thornhill's death sentence will no longer stand, but that... (full context)
Part 2: Sydney
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Thornhill arrives in Sydney, Australia, a sad and jumbled town, in September of 1806, after a... (full context)
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The government issues Sal a week's worth of food, some blankets, and a hut. Thornhill is, essentially, a slave, bound to work for Sal doing whatever she wants. They're on... (full context)
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Thornhill studies the land. The town is mostly hovels, and a wooly forest goes on for... (full context)
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In the morning, Thornhill wonders if the black man who confronted him in the night was a dream. He... (full context)
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...them to work and support themselves, but not to leave New South Wales. Sal and Thornhill joke for the first year that she's the mistress. They soon move into a larger... (full context)
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...a piece of roof tile she found on her last day in London, and tells Thornhill that when they return to London, she'll take it back to where she found it.... (full context)
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An Aborigine called Scabby Bill lives in the settlement. He sleeps outside the hut and Thornhill and Sal give him bread sometimes. He has scars on his chest and can sometimes... (full context)
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In Sydney Cove, Thornhill runs into many acquaintances from the Thames. He meets Thomas Blackwood again, who insists, when... (full context)
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...farmers' crops. It's very remote, however, and populated by warlike natives. Blackwood says nothing when Thornhill asks about the "outrages and depredations" reported by the Sydney Gazette. (full context)
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After a year, Thornhill applies for and is granted his ticket of leave. When the baby, Dick, is able... (full context)
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Three years after the Thornhills arrived in New South Wales, Thornhill can afford to purchase meat three times per week.... (full context)
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Blackwood skillfully navigates the boat into the small bay, and Thornhill searches for the mouth of the Hawkesbury. Blackwood seems to point the boat towards solid... (full context)
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Blackwood and Thornhill continue up the winding river until they reach a bay. Blackwood calls out for a... (full context)
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...explains that he bought his pardon two years ago and picked out a hundred acres. Thornhill thinks that he doesn't know anyone who owns land, and is astonished that a convicted... (full context)
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...bend in the river that looks like a man's thumb, and for the first time, Thornhill feels as though he's fallen in love with this piece of land. He imagines standing... (full context)
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When he returns to Sydney, Thornhill tells Sal about the river and the people that live there. He doesn't mention his... (full context)
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...year later, Blackwood decides to retire to his place on the river, but he takes Thornhill to get him his pardon before he does. Thornhill purchases a petition from a man... (full context)
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Thornhill decides he needs a boat of his own, as that will allow him to do... (full context)
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Thornhill borrows 115 pounds from Mr. King, who shakes hands with Thornhill as though they're equals.... (full context)
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Thornhill's family thrives: Bub is now three and looks as though he'll survive; Dick is introspective... (full context)
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Sal becomes pregnant again, and on New Year's Eve 1813, Thornhill tells her again about the land. She laughs, admitting that she had thought he was... (full context)
Part 3: A Clearing in the Forest
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In September of 1813, the Thornhills board the Hope and begin their journey to the Hawkesbury River. Sal sits with the... (full context)
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Dick asks if the savages will try to eat them, and Thornhill assures him that he won't let them. He glances at the gun wrapped in canvas.... (full context)
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Finally, Thornhill points to where they're going to settle. The tide turns, however, and Thornhill decides to... (full context)
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Thornhill, Willie, and Dick struggle to erect a canvas tent and manage to do so just... (full context)
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When they all reach the tent, Thornhill realizes how flimsy it must look to Sal, and realizes that she'll be on her... (full context)
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The family huddles close around the fire as night falls. Before sunset, Thornhill loads the gun. He wonders why it doesn't make him feel safe to have it.... (full context)
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At sunrise, Thornhill, Willie, and Dick walk down to a flat, clear strip of land by the river... (full context)
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Calmly, Thornhill tells his sons that moles or hogs must have dug up the dirt. Willie hears... (full context)
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Hoeing is difficult. Thornhill sweats in the full sun, Willie hoes madly, and Dick dreamily scratches at one spot... (full context)
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...men begins to speak in his own language, gesturing at the land all the while. Thornhill listens for a minute, but soon feels angry and dumb. He loudly interrupts the man... (full context)
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...of the tent and stops Bub and Johnny from following their brothers. She looks scared. Thornhill thinks that the natives look like they're waiting for something and wishes he'd bought beads... (full context)
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The natives accept the pork and some bread but still don't move. Thornhill mimes eating, but they don't eat the food either. The younger man puts the pork... (full context)
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Thornhill yells "No!" and runs over to Willie. He slaps the old man's shoulder and continues... (full context)
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...didn't spear them, and Sal insists that the natives left once they gave them food. Thornhill thinks that Sal likely doesn't believe that, but he agrees with her anyway. The next... (full context)
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...absolutely necessary. She begins keeping count of the days on a tree near the tent. Thornhill hears her telling Willie that they'll be here for 260 weeks. He hopes that she'll... (full context)
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...to come down to the corn patch to admire it, Sal doesn't seem impressed. When Thornhill tries to offer her edible plants he finds, she refuses to try them and insists... (full context)
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For the first few weeks, Thornhill and his sons perform hard labor to get the corn growing and begin to construct... (full context)
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Thornhill looks down at an ant and notices a freshly scratched line in the rock. He... (full context)
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Thornhill looks around and sees no one watching him, but he realizes that even though the... (full context)
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...Smasher as though they're old friends and offers him all the hospitality she can, while Thornhill only sits down to be pleasant. Smasher tells them how he was convicted and sent... (full context)
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...regales them with tales of their viciousness. Sal becomes quiet and holds Mary tightly, while Thornhill tries to give Smasher a hint to stop talking. Smasher continues to talk about his... (full context)
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Later that night, when the lamp goes out, Sal forces herself to laugh and asks Thornhill if Smasher is just exaggerating. Thornhill insists that he surely is, but thinks about the... (full context)
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The hut proves a difficult structure to erect. As Thornhill fights the difficult earth to build it, he discovers that he's actually capable of building... (full context)
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Thornhill encourages Smasher to tell others on the river that his family enjoys company, so one... (full context)
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Sagitty and Smasher exchange knowing looks as they talk about the natives. Thornhill tries to change the subject, but Smasher dreamily says that killing the natives is like... (full context)
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A man nicknamed Spider arrives with Loveday. Thornhill hopes the conversation will turn away from killing the natives, but it only becomes more... (full context)
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...with a keg of his homemade rum. When he arrives, everyone becomes quiet and sober. Thornhill thinks he barely knows Blackwood. Even though he worked with him for a year, Blackwood... (full context)
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...natives stole from him the night before. As though he didn't hear, Blackwood motions to Thornhill's cornfield and notes that he dug up the daisies. Blackwood explains that the roots are... (full context)
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...that the natives are dishonest thieves, and Blackwood insults Smasher's own honesty. Blackwood turns to Thornhill and tells him again that he needs to remember that when he takes a little,... (full context)
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Before the Thornhills left Sydney, Thornhill had applied for convict servants. Five weeks after moving to the river,... (full context)
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On the wharf, Thornhill remembers what it was like to emerge from the dark ship years ago. Thornhill is... (full context)
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Thornhill gets one of the last picks of the convicts. He chooses a man called Ned... (full context)
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Thornhill realizes that, to men like the captain, he and Dan are one and the same,... (full context)
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When Thornhill returns to the river with Dan and Ned, Sal insists that Dan call her Mrs.... (full context)
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At breakfast the next morning, Thornhill watches Dan eye the cliffs and surrounding forest. He waits until Dan looks at him... (full context)
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That night, Dan and Ned crawl into the lean-to, and Thornhill notices that Sal is smiling. He tells her that they'll fix up the hut and... (full context)
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...and baby 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... (full context)
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...better until Blackwood arrives with jellied eels. The day after, Sal is sitting up when Thornhill wakes. She looks much better and asks Thornhill if they've been making the marks on... (full context)
Part 4: A Hundred Acres
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With Dan and Ned on Thornhill's Point, Thornhill feels better leaving to work on the river. The children grow quickly and... (full context)
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In December of 1913, as Thornhill approaches his property on the river, Willie runs down wildly and says that the natives... (full context)
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When Thornhill reaches the camp, it takes him a minute to notice a few older women and... (full context)
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Thornhill decides to act like he's hosting these men and greets them loudly, though he wishes... (full context)
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When Thornhill returns to the hut, he tells Sal that the natives will leave soon, but as... (full context)
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Dan, Ned, and Thornhill watch all of this, entranced by the bare breasts of the younger girls. They watch... (full context)
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Thornhill realizes that he has no idea how to find food in the forest like the... (full context)
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One day, Sal tells Thornhill that the natives have been around for three weeks. She says that she spoke to... (full context)
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Thornhill struggles to find a place to land his boat at Blackwood's encampment. He notices that... (full context)
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Thornhill doesn't understand how this applies to his own problems with the natives. He thinks "give... (full context)
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...he's eight, Dick performs his chores in the morning and then disappears in the afternoons. Thornhill sometimes sees Dick playing with native children in the river, naked like his companions. Thornhill... (full context)
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Thornhill approaches to watch, thinking that making fire without flint is not really possible. Dick is... (full context)
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Looking around, Thornhill realizes that the black people around him aren't black, per se; they're just skin-colored. He... (full context)
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...Sal tries to explain to Dick that he needs to act like a civilized person. Thornhill insists that Dick is old enough to work and stop playing, but Dick sulks, saying... (full context)
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The next day, Thornhill finds Dick trying to make fire like Long Jack showed him. Thornhill is angry for... (full context)
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...is just a word. Sal sings songs about London to the children at night and Thornhill listens, but he realizes by the tone of Sal's voice that she's preparing the children... (full context)
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One morning in January, the Thornhills wake to see smoke coming from the native's camp. Thornhill and his family watch as... (full context)
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...for a day before the heat returns. The burnt patch becomes green, which attracts kangaroos. Thornhill watches Black Dick hunt a kangaroo one day, and decides to try to shoot one... (full context)
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A few days later, Thornhill fills a bag with flour and goes to barter for some kangaroo meat. Whisker Harry... (full context)
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Willie tries to skin the kangaroo leg, but his knife can't cut through the skin. Thornhill ends up chopping the leg with the axe and putting the pieces, fur and all,... (full context)
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That night, Thornhill thinks about the natives. He thinks that they're little more than savages running around naked,... (full context)
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Now that he's successfully traded with the natives, Thornhill is less anxious leaving Sal and the children. He trades regularly with Smasher, as his... (full context)
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The man is holding an oyster and when he has Thornhill and Smasher's attention, he opens the shell with one hand and eats the oyster. He... (full context)
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Smasher begins yelling at Thornhill. He yells that he knows that he's been friendly with the natives, along with Blackwood.... (full context)
Part 5: Drawing a Line
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When Thornhill returns from Sydney a week later, things begin to change. The natives arrive en masse... (full context)
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Sal tells Thornhill to stay at the house that afternoon rather than going back to the corn patch.... (full context)
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...natives are coming to kill them. The children begin to cry with fear, even though Thornhill insists that the natives won't hurt them. Willie tells his father to show them the... (full context)
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Thornhill picks his way through the rocks and brush until he's above the natives' camp. Nobody... (full context)
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Thornhill understands that the natives are watching Whisker Harry dance a story they all know, and... (full context)
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When Thornhill returns to the hut, Sal has the children dressed. Thornhill tells Sal, Dan, and Ned... (full context)
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Every night for a week, the natives dance and sing. They never approach the Thornhill hut, but even after they disappear Sal and Thornhill are fearful. Sal stops engaging with... (full context)
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Thornhill decides to clear the space around the hut. He cuts down a stalk from a... (full context)
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In March, Thornhill decides to buy dogs from Smasher. When Thornhill approaches Smasher, Smasher tries to draw out... (full context)
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...lips and says that both he and Sagitty have had sex with this woman, and Thornhill imagines having sex with her too. Smasher asks Thornhill if he's interested, but Thornhill can't... (full context)
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Over the next several weeks, Thornhill trades up and down the river, though he stops trading with Smasher. When Sal talks... (full context)
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...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 sex with Smasher's chained... (full context)
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...family becomes one of many attacks: nearly every farmer has an encounter with the natives. Thornhill stays home to keep an eye on his own corn since there's nothing to trade... (full context)
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...and says that he's been ordered by the Governor to bring back six heads. As Thornhill looks at the map, he thinks it's technically correct but leaves out all the gullies,... (full context)
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Thornhill speaks up and says that the going is rough on McCallum's plotted path, but McCallum... (full context)
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...a proclamation in the Sydney Gazette, which Loveday reads to a group of settlers at Thornhill's one night. Smasher, Sagitty, and Blackwood are there, and Dan and Ned look on. Loveday... (full context)
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...human ears. She yells for Smasher to get them out so the children don't see. Thornhill tries to look stony as Smasher explains that he's going to boil the head and... (full context)
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...shoves Smasher's head into the table. He punches Smasher several times before the others, including Thornhill, restrain him. Blackwood leaves and Smasher assures the group that Blackwood and the natives will... (full context)
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After the group leaves, Sal suggests that the Thornhills go home to London. Thornhill insists they don't have enough money and haven't been here... (full context)
Part 6: The Secret River
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A week later, Thornhill sails the Hope past Darkey Creek. He notices that there's no smoke coming from the... (full context)
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The boy is curled up, vomiting and lying in a puddle of diarrhea. Thornhill looks up and wants to leave. He tells the boy that he can't do anything,... (full context)
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The next morning, Dick runs to Thornhill and says that the natives are filling bags with their corn. Thornhill feels rage fill... (full context)
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Thornhill lets go of the woman he'd held and points the gun at Long Jack. He... (full context)
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Sal yells for Thornhill to let the boy go and steps forward to let him free herself. Dan looks... (full context)
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The entire family works to harvest corn that afternoon. Thornhill tries to work next to Sal, but Sal works hard to avoid him. He says... (full context)
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When Thornhill wakes, he smells smoke. From the hut he looks at the burnt corn patch, thinking... (full context)
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The camp looks like it usually does, but deserted. Thornhill tries to tell Sal to come back, but she inspects the entire camp. She picks... (full context)
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Thornhill asks where the natives are if they live here, and Sal insists that they're watching... (full context)
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Sal says they can be packed in an hour. Thornhill feels angry and says that the natives have no right to this place, though he... (full context)
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Thornhill drops his hand and feels his rage disappear. He wishes he could go back in... (full context)
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Thornhill, Dan, and Ned float down towards Saggity's place. They see smoke and a smashed boat,... (full context)
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As they travel down the river, Thornhill thinks he'll have to tell Sal. He knows that Sagitty's fate will make it very... (full context)
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At the town of Windsor, Thornhill, Ned, and Dan get Sagitty to the hospital and then go to Spider's bar. They... (full context)
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...solemnly says that they have to go get the natives before the natives get them. Thornhill imagines being speared as Smasher says that the natives are camping at Blackwood's place. He... (full context)
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Thornhill looks at the men in the room and thinks that they're all becoming wicked. Loveday... (full context)
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Thornhill realizes that he would've died at Newgate, and what happens in the morning will fundamentally... (full context)
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...the men first, then the women. The men wade to shore with their guns, though Thornhill thinks it's likely the natives heard them a long time ago. The group approaches the... (full context)
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Thornhill watches the massacre around him. He watches Dan club Black Dick over the head, and... (full context)
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Thornhill gets up with his gun and realizes that there are natives in the forest throwing... (full context)
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Thornhill's gun finally goes off. Whisker Harry stands stern for a moment and then folds forward... (full context)
Part 6: Mr. Thornhill's Villa
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...years, the river itself doesn't change. New men move to Smasher and Spider's places, and Thornhill buys Sagitty's place and 100 acres that includes Darkey Creek. It's called Thornhill's Creek now.... (full context)
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An Irishman named Devine built a stone villa for Mr. Thornhill. Thornhill and Sal call it Cobham Hall after the place where Sal's mother worked before... (full context)
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The villa isn't exactly what Mr. Thornhill had in mind, and parts of it aren't quite right. The stone steps leading to... (full context)
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Cobham Hall is a grand residence. Sometimes Mr. Thornhill wonders if he's a gentleman now, and thinks that it feels like a dream. Sometimes,... (full context)
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...about going home, but London as home is just an idea. Both Sal and Mr. Thornhill understand that they'll never go home to London, not least because their children all believe... (full context)
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Thornhill agrees to build Sal a stone wall around the garden, with only one gate. The... (full context)
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Mr. Thornhill had two portraits of himself painted. One hangs in the parlor, one is hidden under... (full context)
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...portrait that hangs in the parlor was done by an "old colonialist," and shows Mr. Thornhill holding a telescope. The expression on Mr. Thornhill's face looks as though he's surprised at... (full context)
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...wasn't false, but wasn't exactly true either. It didn't mention the dying natives that Mr. Thornhill remembers. When he'd returned home to Sal, she'd been waiting. He told her that they'd... (full context)
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Thornhill wished that Sal would say something, but she never did. She unpacked their things and... (full context)
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Now, Blackwood still lives in his hut. Mr. Thornhill occasionally takes Blackwood food and tobacco, and glances at the spot where he'd burned all... (full context)
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Dick moves into Blackwood's hut with him. Some on the river suggest that Mr. Thornhill sent Dick to take care of Blackwood, and Mr. Thornhill doesn't correct them. Dick had... (full context)
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...how wrong they were. Long Jack is the only black man still living near the Thornhills on the river. He'd been shot at Blackwood's but didn't die. One of his legs... (full context)
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...never wears the clothes and doesn't eat her bread. He occasionally begs food from the Thornhills, but sometimes disappears for periods. One cold morning, Mr. Thornhill takes Jack a blanket and... (full context)
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...He slaps the ground and says "this me, my place," and strokes the ground. Mr. Thornhill thinks that he has money, food, and boots—everything he ever wanted—but feels empty watching Jack... (full context)
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Mr. Thornhill spends his evenings sitting on the veranda with his spyglass. He has his servant bring... (full context)
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Mr. Thornhill thinks watching the cliffs is like watching the sea: they're always changing, and it's hard... (full context)
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The bench that Mr. Thornhill sits on while he watches isn't particularly comfortable and he thinks of it as part... (full context)