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

by

Robyn Davidson

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The Camera Symbol Analysis

The Camera Symbol Icon

The camera that Rick brings along when he meets up with Robyn Davidson is an important symbol of the tension between Davidson’s desire to be independent and her need to rely on connections with others. Rick and his photography skills are a key factor in getting Davidson her deal with National Geographic, which provides financial support for the trip and forces her to keep going when she might otherwise have stopped. While Davidson is often grateful for this source of support, she also resents Rick’s presence at times, feeling that he and his incessant need to take pictures interfere with the solitude she had hoped for. Additionally, she feels that the pictures from Rick’s camera end up being shallow, misleading versions of reality, which ultimately misrepresent her (and others, including the Aboriginal people) to the outside world. Still, the photographs help Davidson gain the notoriety that she needs to share the true meaning of her trip with other people. Davidson never quite resolves this tension, wondering throughout if it’s wrong to want to rely on herself and how to cope with the necessity of involving other people in the trek. The lines between individuality and interconnection blur over the course of the book, and the camera often serves as a representation of this blurring: it shares Davidson’s experience with other people while simultaneously getting in the way of her wish to represent that experience accurately.

The Camera 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 all refer to the symbol of The Camera. 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 5  Quotes

I began right then and there to split into two over Rick. On the one hand I saw him as a blood-sucking little creep who had inveigled his way into my life by being nice and by tempting me with material things. On the other hand I was confronted with a very warm, gentle human being who genuinely wanted to help me and who was excited by the prospect of an adventure, who wanted to do a good job, and who cared.

Related Characters: Robyn Davidson (speaker), Rick
Related Symbols: The Camera
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7  Quotes

They were gorgeous photos, no complaints there, but who was that Vogue model tripping romantically along roads with a bunch of camels behind her, hair lifted delicately by sylvan breezes and turned into a golden halo by the back-lighting. Who the hell was she? Never let it be said that the camera does not lie. It lies like a pig in mud. It captures the projections of whoever happens to be using it, never the truth.

Related Characters: Robyn Davidson (speaker), Rick
Related Symbols: The Camera
Page Number: 136
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11  Quotes

I was now public property. I was now a kind of symbol. I was now an object of ridicule for small-minded sexists, and I was a crazy, irresponsible adventurer (though not as crazy as I would have been had I failed). But worse than all that, I was now a mythical being who had done something courageous and outside the possibilities that ordinary people could hope for. And that was the antithesis of what I wanted to share. That anyone could do anything. If I could bumble my way across a desert, then anyone could do anything. And that was true especially for women, who have used cowardice for so long to protect themselves that it has become a habit.

Related Characters: Robyn Davidson (speaker), Rick
Related Symbols: The Camera
Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12  Quotes

And here I was at the end of my trip, with everything just as fuzzy and unreal as the beginning. It was easier for me to see myself in Rick’s lens, riding down to the beach in that clichéd sunset, just as it was easier for me to stand with my friends and wave goodbye to the loopy woman with the camels, the itching smell of the dust around us, and in our eyes the fear that we had left so much unsaid. There was an unpronounceable joy and an aching sadness to it. It had all happened too suddenly. I didn’t believe this was the end at all.

Related Characters: Robyn Davidson (speaker), Rick
Related Symbols: The Camera
Page Number: 257
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Camera Symbol Timeline in Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Camera 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 7 
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
Femininity and Society Theme Icon
...between her and Jenny. Rick shows the two women the photographs he took with his camera of Davidson’s departure, in which Davidson can barely recognize herself because she looks so much... (full context)
Chaos vs. Order Theme Icon
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
Femininity and Society Theme Icon
...she shoulders the burdens of the trip’s labor while he simply takes pictures with his camera. At one point, the two separate and Rick is late to meet up again, which... (full context)
Chapter 9 
Chaos vs. Order Theme Icon
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
Racial Tension and Oppression Theme Icon
...rifle, but is confused about why Rick has to take so many pictures with his camera. Davidson tells Rick to stop photographing, which leads to tension between the two. She reflects... (full context)
Chapter 12 
Chaos vs. Order Theme Icon
Individuality and Interconnection Theme Icon
...is ending so soon, and asks that Rick at least not take pictures with his camera. (full context)