Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback

Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback Study Guide

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Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback: Introduction

A concise biography of Robyn Davidson plus historical and literary context for Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback.

Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback: Plot Summary

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Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback: Detailed Summary & Analysis

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Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback: Themes

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Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback: Quotes

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Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback: Characters

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Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback: Terms

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Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback: Symbols

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Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback: Theme Wheel

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Brief Biography of Robyn Davidson

Robyn Davidson was born in Queensland, Australia and grew up on a cattle station. Tracks hints at her difficult childhood; her mother died by suicide when Davidson was 11 years old and she was later sent to girls’ boarding school in Brisbane. She was 26 years old when she undertook her trek through the desert, and she became a celebrity upon the publication of Tracks in 1980. She has since had an extensive career as a travel writer, often focusing on her time spent with various nomadic peoples. She has also published another memoir, an essay collection, and a novel. Davidson currently lives in London, India, and Australia.
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Historical Context of Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback

Tracks is closely tied to the sociopolitical context of late 1970s Australia, as well as its national history more generally. Davidson’s decision to go on her trek springs in part from her dissatisfaction with the superficial preoccupations of modern life, as well as her feminist belief that she is capable of more than the limiting gender roles that her society prescribes to women. Additionally, her experiences with and reflections on the Aboriginal communities she encounters relate to the broader oppression of Aboriginal people and the pervasive racism against them. The 1960s and 1970s saw a wave of activism in favor of returning land rights to Aboriginal groups that had been colonized, but most major legislation toward making these rights a reality did not occur until the 1980s. Although Davidson is not directly involved in the Aboriginal Land Rights movement, her journey takes place against the backdrop of its tensions and she witnesses the burden placed on Aboriginal people by racial biases and systemic oppression.

Other Books Related to Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback

Tracks is part of a long tradition of adventure memoirs, many of which involve novice adventurers setting out on a journey to find meaning in life or heal past pain. Tracks is often compared to Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild, though it predates Wild by several decades. Tracks is also related to other works about the Australian outback and Aboriginal traditions, including The Songlines by Davidson’s friend Bruce Chatwin. The influence of Tracks also guided Davidson’s later books, most notably her second memoir Desert Places, which follows her year living with a nomadic tribe on the border between India and Pakistan.
Key Facts about Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback
  • Full Title: Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback
  • When Written: Late 1970s
  • Where Written: London
  • When Published: 1980
  • Literary Period: Contemporary
  • Genre: Memoir; Adventure; Nature Writing
  • Setting: Alice Springs, Australia; several settings across the outback
  • Climax: Diggity’s death; Davidson’s arrival in Carnarvon
  • Antagonist: The threats of the natural world; the limitations and oppressions of Western society
  • Point of View: First-person

Extra Credit for Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback

Famous Friends. Soon after her trek, Davidson became friends with notable authors including travel writer Bruce Chatwin and novelist Doris Lessing, with whom Davidson lived with writing Tracks.

The Big Screen. Tracks was made into a 2013 film starring Mia Wasikowska as Davidson and Adam Driver as Rick, though Julia Roberts had reportedly been attached to star in a previous attempt at adaptation in the early 1990s.