A nest for dreaming: the house in contemporary Australian fiction

Cathryne Sanders

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] The house is a key motif in Australian fiction, acting as a driver of narrative and a generator of a sense of the personalities of various characters. It is also central to Australian life. Prime Minister Rudd’s 2008 address to the Housing Industry Association, for example, made the claim that Australians embrace the idea of “mass home ownership” and that the desire to own a house is strongly connected to Australians’ sense of security, freedom and belonging.1 This thesis draws on postcolonial studies, gender studies and close examination of eight contemporary novels, The Great World (1990), The Children (2007), Cloudstreet (1991), Benang (1999), Crush (1991), Carpentaria (2006), The Memory Room (2007) and The White Earth (2004) to consider the significance of the house in connection to complex notions such as family, gender, Indigenous politics and the relationship between the interior and the exterior. It places these texts in relation to other works of Australian literature, both past and present. Locations featured in the texts span the width of Australia from Hobart to Perth and encompass rural, suburban and urban settings. They were chosen to constitute a variety of houses with different settings as well as narratives about characters that are diverse in terms of social status, motivations and desires.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
  • Hughes-D'Aeth, Tony, Supervisor
  • Haskell, Dennis, Supervisor
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


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