‘My Place’ by Sally Morgan
– Area of study: Inner Journey
– Explore the ways in which the text depicts journeys of the mind and spirit. Inner journeys involve the exploration of the self, as individuals review their growth and development in the light of experiences which challenge and inspire them.
– An inner journey can be defined as a journey of the mind and spirit, but to go on an inner journey there must be experience of some sort.
– An inner journey develops within us as we interact with our environment, friends, and family.
My Place Notes.
– We see things through Sally’s eyes, which gives us her perspective on things, and as she grows her perspective changes. We also see them from others perspectives, such as Arthur, Daisy, and Gladys. This helps us see the strangeness of things in one context compared to another.
– Sally’s inner journey is her increasing awareness and love for her family and Aboriginal identity, and the recognition of her place.
– It is a journey of both the mind and the spirit. The personal accounts from Arthur Gladys and Nan offer insight into a period in Australia’s past that is shadowed by an ignorance of Aboriginal culture.
– The text is an exploration of the self, because it is the story of Sally’s journey to discover what it means to be an Aboriginal person.
– The text gives us an insight into our own world through letting us see Australia from an Aboriginals perspective. It reveals an unsavoury past of mistreatment of Aboriginal people.
– The assumptions that underlie the inner journey is that Aboriginal people have not had equal opportunities in Australian society and have not been treated as equals in Australian history. Very little has been discussed about the treatment of Aboriginal people in Australian history, up to the point of Sally’s book. The assumption is also that it is time for the truth to be acknowledged.
– The stories that Sally tells are oral histories, so the level of language throughout the novel is very colloquial.
– The conversational nature of the prose brings the reader into the story on a more emotional level, already getting a feeling for what is coming, and having felt as if there is welcome and relaxation in this story, like you are welcome to read it.
– The fact that it is a non-fiction work gives it authority.
– The reader becomes challenged and inspired by Sally’s journey. The truth challenges the responder to find out more. The courage and perseverance of the characters in the story are inspiring. The journey is a revelation to the reader.
– The text depict more than one journey. It follows the journey not only of Sally, but of her mother, uncle, and grandmother. These personal journeys reveal to the reader a history of prejudice and mistreatment.
– First person oral narrative. The angle is Latter or more recent that the past. It is a “quest Narrative” as she goes in search of her past.
– Sally’s connection with her grandmother is a connection with her past. Her rediscovery of her roots is a rediscovery of the past.
– The novel is both private and public, because it is private family history, but public has a wider sense of nation.
– The family is the point of storytelling for Sally and many other Aboriginal writers.
– Storytelling has multiple roles. It teaches non-Aboriginals about this history. The different people telling the stories gives us different voices, which gives an intimate and authentic feel.
– Imagery shows signs of their spirituality. Nan uses imagery of “black blood” to affirm Sally’s connection with the family.
– Autobiographical narratives articulate the sense of self in My Place. We see that Sally’s sense of her self are tied up with her family and in particular her grandmother and her mother.
– It is a different autobiographical narrative, because it is an autobiographical of four people.
– A sense of progression is created, because it is written how she felt in the time of the event. which explains the very simple child like quality of the opening chapters. This makes the book more like a novel because it keep the reader guessing what is next?
– “I’d lived my whole life in suburbia and told everyone that I was Indian. I hardly knew any aboriginal people. What did it mean for someone like me?” She is finally taking on the fact that she is aboriginal, and now she is growing and wants to experience this, so she grows and learns, and experiences more of her inner journey.
Sally Morgans Story.
– “You don’t know what the government is like, you’re to young….” (96)
Sally comments on her puzzlement to the way her mother and grandmother treat anyone in the authorities, this is the begging of her realisation of what they have done to her people, even through at this stage she still thinks she is Indian.
– “You bloody kids don’t want me, you want a bloody white grandmother, I’m Black. Do you hear, black! Black! Black!” (97)
For the first time in 15 years Morgan becomes aware of colour, this is also an important point on the inner journey that Sally takes, but she still looks at herself as neutral, and others as different, while most see it the other way.
– “The Feeling that every vital part of me was missing, and that I’d never belong anywhere.” (106)
Morgans lack of ambition or assertion about her talents and sense of self is directly related to her inability to know who she is and who she was from.
– “We’re Aboriginal aren’t we mum?” “Yes” (135)
Morgan discovers this face after she has left home and is securely married. Gladys believes that it is better times and therefor safer for Morgan to know the truth.
– “I’d lived all my life in suburbia and told everyone that I was an Indian. I hardly knew and Aboriginal people. What did it mean for someone like me.” (141)
Morgans transparent confessional style makes it easy for white middle class criticisms and prejudices immediately. There is no honeymoon period for identifying herself as an Aboriginal but an immediate investigation into wether or not she is worthy of this inheritance. This makes the novel easy for white middle class.
Arthur Corunna’s Story
– “I’m real old now and I can still show you the scars from that beating” (186)
Arthur talks about the treatment by the mission owners.
Sally Morgans Story
– “you don’t know what it means to come back. You don’t know what it means that you, with light skin, want to own us” (229)
Their trip back North is emphatic as they meet people who know Daisy and Gladys. So many of the identify and own Morgan and her family, this is her profound moment of belonging and therefore this physical journey quintessentially becomes her inner journey to self. Throughout this journey Morgan names, this is important as a way of identifying herself.
– “You’ve got your place now. We’ve worked it out” (232)
To be aboriginal according to aboriginal criteria, you have to identify with a particular country in Australia and that people of that country must identify with you and that is what happened here with Morgan.the sens of belonging that Sally gets here is absolutely quintessential when coming to terms with ones inner journey of who one is.
– “To nearly think I missed all this. All my life I have only been half a person” (223)
Gladys recognises the importance of knowing who you are via the journey. To be fully formed means to be identified.
– “She was afraid to get used to it in case I got taken off her again” (276)
Even when daisy and Gladys are together the mother lacks confidence in her own ability to be a mother.
– “In those days they took the white ones off you, because you weren’t considered fit to raise a child with white blood.” (336)
this attitude that aboriginals were unfit as parents struck at the very core of their identity and completely decimated their power.
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