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

by

Robyn Davidson

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Kurt Character Analysis

Kurt is an Austrian-born rancher who lives in Alice Springs with his wife, Gladdy. Kurt is skilled at handling camels and agrees to train Davidson and eventually give her camels in exchange for her work on the ranch. However, Kurt turns out to be cruel toward both humans and animals, and he requires an unreasonable amount of labor from Davidson, flying into rages when she doesn’t meet his expectations. It also becomes clear that he does not intend to honor his agreement to give her camels. Although Kurt teaches Davidson much of what she learns about camels, he also terrorizes her to the extent that she eventually fears he might kill her. Finally, he moves away unexpectedly, having sold the ranch to people who know nothing about camels. Davidson often thinks back on Kurt as an example of cruelty and insanity, wondering how and why someone might end up behaving like him.

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

The Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback quotes below are all either spoken by Kurt or refer to Kurt . 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:
Chaos vs. Order Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback published in 1995.
Chapter 1  Quotes

I hated myself for my infernal cowardice in dealing with people. It is such a female syndrome, so much the weakness of animals who have always been prey. I had not been aggressive enough or stood up to him enough. And now this impotent, internal, angry stuttering.

Related Characters: Robyn Davidson (speaker), Kurt
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2  Quotes

To enter that country is to be choked with dust, suffocated by waves of thrumming heat, and driven to distraction by the ubiquitous Australian fly; it is to be amazed by space and humbled by the most ancient, bony, awesome landscape on the face of the earth. It is to discover the continent’s mythical crucible, the great outback, the never-never, that decrepit desert land of infinite blue air and limitless power. It seems ridiculous now, to talk of my growing sense of freedom given the feudal situation I was living in, but anything could be mended, anything forgotten, any doubt withstood during a walk through those timeless boulders, or down that glittering river-bed in the moonlight.

Related Characters: Robyn Davidson (speaker), Kurt
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

This debilitating fear, this recognition of the full potential of Kurt’s hatred of me, and the knowledge that Kurt could and would hurt me very badly if I displeased him enough, was the catalyst which transformed my vague misery and sense of defeat into an overwhelming reality. The Kurts of this world would always win—there was no standing up to them—no protection from them. With this realization came a collapse: Everything I had been doing or thinking was meaningless, trivial, in the face of the existence of Kurt.

Related Characters: Robyn Davidson (speaker), Kurt , Gladdy
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:
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Kurt Character Timeline in Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback

The timeline below shows where the character Kurt appears in Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
Racial Tension and Oppression Theme Icon
Davidson meets Gladdy, who runs a camel ranch with her husband, Kurt. Davidson is impressed by the property and quickly takes a liking to Gladdy, but does... (full context)
Chaos vs. Order Theme Icon
Femininity and Society Theme Icon
Although she suspects that Kurt is ripping her off, Davidson works for him for some time, cleaning up after the... (full context)
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
Femininity and Society Theme Icon
Davidson learns a great deal about working with camels from Kurt, although she wonders whether she can tolerate his abusive behavior for eight months. She thinks... (full context)
Chapter 2 
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
Femininity and Society Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Kurt stops by occasionally to try and convince Davidson to come back to his ranch. Although... (full context)
Chaos vs. Order Theme Icon
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
Femininity and Society Theme Icon
...of the land around the ranch and finds that it reduces her other anxieties. However, Kurt contains to behave cruelly, especially when Davidson makes mistakes. She thinks back on how impossible... (full context)
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
...bull camel named Dookie. Because of this, it is especially hard for her to witness Kurt’s occasional cruelty to the camels. She begins to become depressed again and thinks sometimes about... (full context)
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
At Davidson’s request, Kurt helps her capture a young crow to keep as a pet, but several other crows... (full context)
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
...some privacy, but when it is destroyed in a storm she moves back in with Kurt and Gladdy. She tolerates Kurt’s behavior for a while longer, but snaps again one morning... (full context)
Chapter 3 
Femininity and Society Theme Icon
Racial Tension and Oppression Theme Icon
...her enjoyment of living alone. She attempts to remain friends with Gladdy and so sees Kurt as well, who continues to treat her with animosity. Gladdy plans to leave Kurt but... (full context)
Chapter 4
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
Femininity and Society Theme Icon
...continuing to feel depressed over Kate’s death, Davidson also becomes more and more afraid of Kurt, who grows increasingly erratic. She feels defeated, knowing that there will always be someone like... (full context)
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
Femininity and Society Theme Icon
Gladdy eventually leaves Kurt, and though Davidson is happy for her, she feels even more frightened knowing that she... (full context)
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
When Kurt realizes that Gladdy is gone, he becomes more furious than ever with Davidson. To her... (full context)