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

by

Robyn Davidson

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback can help.

Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback: Chapter 8  Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Leaving Docker, Davidson feels that all of her actions are meaningless. She is shaken from her hazy mindset when three more wild bull camels charge her, and she is terrified at having to deal with them on her own. She shoots and kills one, and the other two run away. She falls asleep and opens her eyes to see a moonlit camel standing in profile. She is overwhelmed by its beauty and realizes that it means her no harm, then falls asleep again. When she wakes up, the remaining bull camels attack her again and she kills one of them. She hopes to spare the third, but she is unable to catch her own camel Bub with the wild camel nearby, so she is forced to kill the third wild bull. She weeps as she kills him but feels oddly detached as she continues walking.
This incident deepens Davidson’s sense that perhaps her instinct to control every aspect of her trip is causing more harm than good. Even though she does everything “right” by killing the bull camels, the image of the bull in the moonlight shows her that what she has really done is interrupt the true rightness of the world around her. Her fear at having to cope alone also shows that she has now opened her mind to the necessity of relying on others, at least to some extent.
Themes
Chaos vs. Order Theme Icon
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Time and space feel strange to Davidson, and she focuses only on the road before her. She also begins to wonder if she has brought enough water and starts to feel panicky. One night, she wakes from a dream and hears voices, some angry and some comforting. She feels unable to break free from them, and their memory follows her into the next days. She tells herself that she only has to reach the next station, Mount Fanny, and avoid going mad before she gets there.
Although it is unpleasant, this part of the trip shepherds Davidson into relying on simple forward motion rather than complex, rigid structures. She has begun to shed her fear of chaos and starts to learn to embrace it instead. The variety of the voices she hears also illustrates her complicated relationships with others; the outside world is both friendly and frightening, and she has yet to resolve this conflict.
Themes
Chaos vs. Order Theme Icon
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
Davidson begins to talk to herself and yell at the dunes around her, frightening Diggity. Then, finally, she makes it out of the dunes and, upon finding the mill at the old station, she feels cleansed and refreshed, relieved that she and the animals have found water. Right after leaving the mill, they encounter another herd of wild camels. She shoots into the air to scare them and they all run away, their beauty making her feel grounded and sane.
This time, Davidson manages to escape the wild camels without hurting any of them. Her sense of peace in this moment reflects her increasing understanding that true freedom comes from embracing life’s chaos, rather than trying to control it.
Themes
Chaos vs. Order Theme Icon
Unexpectedly, several cars full of Aboriginal people pass by Davidson’s camp and greet her happily. Though she is initially nervous to interact with humans again, she ends up enjoying their company. The visitors stay with her overnight and in the morning, they agree that one of them, an older man named Eddie, should accompany her during the two-day walk to her next destination. The two of them laugh together because her name sounds like the word “rabbit” in his language.
Davidson’s enjoyable time with the Aboriginals and her light-hearted meeting with Eddie shows development in both her relationships with others and her understanding of Aboriginal culture. She sees that she may actually be more comfortable with people who many view as savages, and at the same time, she sees that collaborating with others can be enjoyable when the parties consider each other equals.
Themes
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
Racial Tension and Oppression Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Get the entire Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback LitChart as a printable PDF.
Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback PDF