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Issue Details: First known date: 2023... 2023 'We Feel the Roots of This Land Beneath the Soles of Our Bare Feet” : A Diffractive Reading of Plant Representation in Welcome to Country and The Rabbits
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The picturebooks Welcome to Country: A Traditional Aboriginal Ceremony by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy (2016) and The Rabbits (2008/2020) by John Marsden and Shaun Tan both thematise human relationships to land, from differing cultural viewpoints. Here, I investigate the role played by plants in the representation of the human-to-land interrelationship in the two works. Inspired by a diffractive reading methodology, I explore how both picturebooks, although they sprout from differing cultural epistemologies, draw on the power of trees to symbolise and explain cultural and ecological relationships. Since the two primary texts establish their own life world governed by differing epistemologies—and since uncovering this as a significant part of the analysis—I do not approach the texts with the same analytical lens. Rather, focussing on plant representation, I draw on the stories of Aboriginal Elders in my reading of Welcome to Country and on perspectives from colonial botany to discuss The Rabbits.' (Publication abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Storying Plants in Australian Children's and Young Adult Literature : Roots and Winged Seeds Melanie Duckworth (editor), Annika Herb (editor), Cham : Palgrave Macmillan , 2023 27274711 2023 anthology criticism

    'Storying Plants in Australian Children’s and Young Adult Literature: Roots and Winged Seeds explores cultural and historical aspects of the representation of plants in Australian children’s and young adult literature, encompassing colonial, postcolonial, and Indigenous perspectives. While plants tend to be backgrounded as of less narrative interest than animals and humans, this book, in conversation with the field of critical plant studies, approaches them as living beings worthy of attention. Australia is home to over 20,000 species of native plants – from pungent Eucalypts to twisting mangroves, from tiny orchids to spiky, silvery spinifex. Indigenous Australians have lived with, relied upon, and cultivated these plants for many thousands of years. When European explorers and colonists first invaded Australia, unfamiliar species of plants captured their imagination. Vulnerable to bushfires, climate change, and introduced species, plants continue to occupy fraught but vital places in Australian ecologies, texts, and cultures. Discussing writers from Ambelin Kwaymullina and Aunty Joy Murphy to May Gibbs and Ethel Turner, and embracing transnational perspectives from Ukraine, Poland, and Aotearoa New Zealand, Storying Plants addresses the stories told about plants but also the stories that plants themselves tell, engaging with the wide-ranging significance of plants in Australian children’s and Young Adult literature.'  (Publication summary)

    Cham : Palgrave Macmillan , 2023
    pg. 51-73
Last amended 13 Dec 2023 14:05:56
51-73 'We Feel the Roots of This Land Beneath the Soles of Our Bare Feet” : A Diffractive Reading of Plant Representation in Welcome to Country and The Rabbitssmall AustLit logo
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