A Clearing in the Forest pg 127 - 141
Mitchell Gatti

In this area we see Thornhill and his family travelling down the coast from their old homes to search out a clearing ahead where they can make their own. Sal is huddled deep in the raft (Hope) attempting to get out of the cold while Willie helps his father. As they reach their destination Thornhill is challenged with the changing tide. Thornhill, who has waited long for these moments is desperate to reach the shore and evaluate the land he will soon call his own. After struggling against the ocean he makes it to the shore and breaks through the shrubbery to find a clearing and with the help of Willie he sets up a camp for the evening. Willie fetches Sal and brings her to the camp. She reaches it and it is exhausted from the journey and she expresses her disappointment of the area. Thornhill tells her and the children of the vision he has of the township that will be formed around them. After realising that her husband needs support Sal reinforces his strength by agreeing with him. They spend the night and Thornhill stays awake as his wife slips into sleep after being cold. As he lays awake he continues to tell himself ‘My place. Thornhill’s place.’ The morning comes and he takes his two eldest to plant a field and discovers another field already planted however it is not the regular planting of a white man. He tries to convince himself and his children it was moles however the youngest states the truth that the other two were avoiding, it was the blacks.

Conflicts with himself.
Thornhill questions his ability to fire the gun that he bought from Mallory. “But being allowed a gun was one of the privileges of a pardon. It was something he had earned, whether he wanted it or not” (131)
- Thornhill is reluctant to think of having to use the gun.

Conflicts with environment.
Sal experiences sadness after she leaves the place she has been for so long. She is wary of the new habitat and struggles to find the strength to support her husband venture after the long exausting trip.
Key Quotes:
"Sal strained backwards, staring at the cluster of buildings, pale cubes in the dawn light, that they were leaving." (127)
"Is this it then Will? she said, is this the place?" (136)
"Yes Will, she said, as if it was she who had to reassure him. It wont seem no time at all, and now where is this famous drink of tea?" (138)

Conflicts with natives.
Thornhill takes the two eldest boys to plant the field only to find another patch already planted but not in a way that would be seem from a white man. Willie reads Thornhill's feelings by the look on his face and helps to create a fantasy that it was moles who had disturbed the ground.
Dick, who is unable to hear the desperation in his brothers voice states the obvious to all but that which the other two were so desperate to deny.
Thornhill is reluctant to admit that the blacks have already claimed his 'untouched land' that he now owned and looks to blame wild animals instaed. He is upset and distrought that he had been 'beaten to the punch'.
Key Quotes:
"Look Da, he said, some bugger already dug it up." (140)
"He had dreamed of this place, had allowed himself to love it too soon. All the time he had dreamed, forced himself against the wind and tide and fatigue, driven by longing, all the time it had been too late. Some other man had set his foot here, worked it with his pick. Like every other hope, this one had been snatched away from him." (140)
"Just wild hogs or such, Moles or something like that." (141)
"Shut your bog Dick, he said, blacks dont plant nothing." (141)

A Clearing in the Forest Page 142-155
Dylan Green

Thornhill, Willie and Dick are planting daisies that Thornhill believed would send a message rather than gaining a crop. He sent Willie and Dick up to fetch the seeds and as he looks up he notices that he is being watched by two black men. Thornhill approaches both men and attempts to bribe them with pork and coins. Willie notices one of the black men taking the spade and attempts to get it back. Thornhill approaches and starts slapping the man across his shoulder. The other man held his spear up ready to throw, but reached out and pushed Thornhill hard in the chest and gestured him to ‘Go Away’. The younger man turned and followed the older man into the forest. Thornhill is adamant that they didn’t spear them because they got no call to and because they gave them victuals.
Thornhill often sees Sal going up to the tree to mark off the weeks with a knife that made him think as if she is a prisoner in this land.


Internal Conflict
This gives us an insight into how Thornhill is feeling about his decision into bringing Sal and the kids to Thornhill’s point rather than going back to London. He is at odds as to whether his decision was the cor rect one.
“Thornhill’s private thoughts were in the shadow behind his smile, the dread of failure: of the corn dying in the ground, or the Hope being wrecked. He had brought them here but how could he make a life for them.” (151)
“But there was a hollow feeling in his middle where a spear might slice” (148)
Relationship Conflict

The unspoken words between Thornhill and Sal also cause conflict between the two of them. Sal’s lack of communication with Thornhill about how she is feeling causes tension as these unspoken words indicated that she was a prisoner here. Thornhill is reluctant to confront this, as it is a sacrifice he is willing to make in order to make their life on Thornhill’s Point work.
“They had never kept secrets from each other before, or had thoughts they did not share” (150)
“It was, he thought, a part of the price they had to pay-just for the time being-for what they would get in the end” (150)
Conflict with the environment”
Thornhill’s initial days on the Hawkesbury come with feelings insecurity with threats to his family’s security will come from other settlers who may try to overtake his cherished parcel of land. This fear becomes an obsession, one that nearly leads to his undoing. There is a sense of desperation in his quest to establish a crop. Thornhill’s approach to the land is typical of so many early settlers who embarked on a desperate battle to force and bend the land to ill-considered ends, planting and raising unsuitable crops and stock
“It was not so much a crop he was aiming for, as a message. Like hoisting a flag on a pole”(142)
“Ain’t nothing to me if it’s dead or alive. Long’s it says William Thornhill got here first” (149)
“We been cheated Da, he said, them things won’t never grow” (149)
Cultural Conflict
Thornhill’s dream of land ownership is threatened by the Indigenous leaders’ lack of cooperation and constant presence. Thornhill quickly learns two lessons: he cannot communicate his wishes with them and they have no respect for him. In his first attempt to negotiate an understanding with them, the sense of authority rests firmly with the two Indigenous men.
“the old man cut across his words as if they were no more importance than the rattle of wind in a tree” (143)
“You might as well bloody bark mate” (144)

155- 170
A Clearing in the Forest.
Aleeshia Grosso


Through these pages, Thorn hill, his wife Sal and Smasher, all react to conflict in many ways. This section is when Smasher comes to the Thorn hills house hold, and expresses his views towards the aboriginals and the tales he has heard about them. His negative views have a influential effect in the way Thorn hill perceives the aboriginals What is also observed in the pages is Sal’s personality and how graceful and polite she is, this is evident through the hatred she has towards Smasher, and they way she contains her self and respects him when he come into their home. Overall these pages, reflect the views the white had towards the so called “blacks” and the horrible in human rumours that people believed.

Are you given any insight into the causes of these conflicts?

Firstly Smasher is perceived in the text as some one who isn’t welcome by the Thorn hills, however, Sal “missed having people around her” states Thorn hill. What is evident to their lack of liking for Smasher is ‘ ‘ Smasher was not a man to whom Sal would have warmed in the normal way. Most importantly what the clear conflict that is in sighted is Smashers stories about the “blacks” For example “ they had scalped two men alive” and “ taken a child from its cradle, slit its little throat and sucked it’ (157) This quote is showing how the whites feel about the blacks, and what myths were going around about them at that time. How they were perceived as like ‘animals’. The conflicts arise within the miscommunication between the aboriginals and the non aboriginals, they way the express them selves, dress and traditions distinguish the major differences, which brings them to think such thoughts.

Another conflict that begins to arise when Smasher continues to talk about the lack of safety their areas has from the blacks and how ‘Mr Thorn hill should keep this guns by his hand’. 158
Also the fact quote ‘Thorn hill was starting to feel he would be please to throttle Smasher’ .

Smashers comments towards the blacks, are reactive to Sal ‘ Its like bleeding flies aint it, kill one ten more come to its funeral” (163). This shows the negativity how the whites feel about the indigenous, stating that there are too much of them.

How do the characters respond to conflict?

Looking into the way Sal’s affection towards Smasher was negative, however she ‘welcomed him like an old friend’ and stating; no need to stand on ceremony among friends’ (156)
Sal is portrayed as an individual whom keeps her feelings to her self and respect guests, and others around her. She is perceived as soft and gentle character who just wants to go back to London and communicate with different people on a daily basis.

Sal responded to the way Smasher was talking about ‘a whip is a mighty handy think to have round your average black savage’

Smasher hypes the conflict by stereotyping the blacks with the words “average” like their common nuisance.

Are you given any insight into the consequences of these conflicts?

The negativity the family may feel after Smasher leaves, the traumatic thoughts that may linger through Thorn hill and Sals minds, are the consequences that the family may feel, are through Smashers opinions and horrific statements that he says about the blacks.

Are any conflicts resolved or is there any attempt at resolution?

The discomfort Thorn hill, Sal and the baby felt were what lead Thorn hill to react to Smasher in a unintended violent way ‘ you’ll have us scared out of our blooming wits’158, this part of the text, is Thorn hill explaining to Smasher how he doesn’t want to hear such traumatic stories, especially as its effecting the boy.

Sagitty, a man who Smasher introduced him ‘ Sagittys life did not demonstrate much sagacity. ‘He was caught stealing 4 bags of soot and have served three tears in irons”


A clearing in the forest: pg 170-185

Acacia Jennings


Will Thornhill applies for convict servants to be assigned to him. One day, when a new fleet of convicts arrive he goes to down the river to pick them up only to encounter Captain Suckling, who had been present during Thornhill’s arrival to HSW. Even though Thornhill was now an emancipist, Captain Suckling continued to regard him with contempt.

Thornhill chose Dan and Ned. Dan was happy to Thornhill as they had worked together in England. However Thornhill wanted to distinguish himself from the convicts and was not interested in reuniting his friendship with Dan. So he told Dan to address him as Mr Thornhill. Thornhill watched the men slaving away and remember how it felt to be sweating and panting. Instead of feeling empathy towards the men he felt proud that he had the authority to refuse their plea for water.

Everyday Sal would mark the same tree, counting down the days until they could return to England, as Thornhill had promised. Soon after, Sal fell ill. No doctor would come and see her regardless of Thornhill’s ability to pay because she was ‘only the wife of an emancipist’. Their neighbour, Mrs Herring, came over to look after her. Sal, who did not appear to fear death, told Thornhill to bury me facing the north if she as to die. Although Thornhill blamed himself for her lack of proper health care, even in spite of her illness, he could not make himself say the words he knew she longed to hear: we will go Home. After many visitors and help from friends Sal did recover. Thornhill was grateful and happy that she was better however he was also disappointed to know that her first thoughts were whether or not the marks on the tree had been kept up to date.

Conflict with the land:

'Even at dawn the sun was an enemy to avoid and by mid-morning the inside of the hut was unendurable.' Pg 182

'It seemed she was not afraid of death or pain, but was filled with terror of being buried in this thin foreign soil, under the blast of this other sun, of her bones rotting away under those hard scraping trees.' Pg 184

Conflict between Thornhill and Sal:

Sal’s main desire is to go home, back to. Her personal conflict with the environment is unquestionable through her daily markings on the tree. Her routine effort to record each passing day highlights the desperation to return home. However Thornhill can bring himself to put her desire before his own even when Sal’s is sick and faces death.

'Hated himself, for bringing her here.' Pg 183

'But even in this moment, when the thought of life without her was a blank like death itself, he could not make himself say the words he knew she longed to hear: we will go Home.' Pg184

'But he had to work to keep the disappointment off his face that the marks on the tree were her first thought.' Pg 185

Conflict between Suckling and Thornhill:

Even though Thornhill is now an emancipist, Captain Suckling still regards him as a convict and treats him no different.

'I never forget a felon’s face…his voice was rich with satisfaction.'

'He had pictured how he would stride and point at the men he wanted. But he hung back now, so he would not have to face Suckling’s smirk.' [pg 174]

'He might be entitled to stand in power over him, but in the eyes of men like Suckling, he and Dan Oldfield were the same.' [pg 175]