Walkabout Essay, Research Paper
Walkabout is about a young girl, her younger brother, and a bush boy who fight for survival in the Australian desert. James Vance Marshall, the author, shows many problems of survival that the children are faced with, throughout their journey in the Australian desert. Some of the barriers that they are faced with are: language barrier, unfamiliar surroundings and the lack of essential items. Survival in the wilderness can be challenging, however one must be able to overcome these barriers in order to survive.
The children in this novel are always faced with a communication problem; do to the Aboriginal not knowing their language and visa versa. The children try to overcome this barrier by using hand gestures, and pointing to things that sound like the word. Communication is the most important asset that they need in order for survival. The children have a difficult time-sharing their thoughts with one another, thus making it very frustrating for all of them to get their thoughts out in the open: We don t know what you re saying. But we re lost. We want to go to Adelaide (Marshall, 45). This quote that Peter says is proving that the two children did not understand what he was saying. Peter asked him a question in return but Peter had to try and use hand expressions in order for the Aboriginal to understand.
A language barrier can cause many problems for anyone, however, the children are also faced with another obstacle and that is unfamiliar surroundings. Since the children are unfamiliar with the area and where everything is located in the wild, they do not know how to go about in their journey. With no compass and no map, the children are very puzzled and are lost before they even begin their journey to Adelaide. A compass or a map would have allowed them to know which direction they are heading in; instead they must try and use the sun as a guide. By being in an unfamiliar area the children feel lost and alone: Lying beneath the great slab of rock, he looked small and helpless, dwarfed by the immensity of his surroundings (Marshall, 18).
Since the children are unfamiliar with their environment, knowing where they can locate food becomes a dilemma. Essential items needed for survival are always hard to come by in the desert. Food is the most essential item of them all. Without food the children would not have made it through the night. Throughout the novel the children seem to be constantly looking for food. The children find their food by learning how to hunt and learning how to fish: She didn t tell him but ever since leaving the gully she d been searching for berries, in vain (Marshall, 29). This quote is telling that they had food but not enough to last them a day, so Mary was searching for the berries or something else to eat. If they had had not of met the Aboriginal they would not have learned how to hunt for food. Water is another essential item that the children need for survival, and it is always hard to come by in the desert since it is very hot and dry. Most of the water that they find is polluted, which can then make them die of an illness.
The barriers that the children were faced with in the dessert are: language barrier, unfamiliar surroundings and the lack of essential items. The children were able to over come all of these barriers, however, with difficulty. Their will to live encouraged them and gave them strength in order to survive. Society can learn form the children s determination. One must never surrender themselves to a problem, instead they must face it and over come it, as the children did throughout their journey.