Picnic At Hanging Rock

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Being Australian could have a variety of meanings, like living within the land borders, possessing official documents declaring you a citizen, or simply conforming to stereotypical ideas and following what is widely recognised as the Australian way of doing things. The novel "Picnic at Hanging Rock" addresses this issue in a number if ways. Joan Lindsay particularly explores the notion of freedom in her novel- the freedom of being Australian, the closeness of the natural world to civilisation, and how the Australian landscape affects people and draws them away from their culture and values to a whole new world, bringing them away from their culture and values into a world of the unknown, the uncertain, the uncharted territory. In the beginning…show more content…
The natural world in the novel is free and poses no restriction, while the cultural world of Appleyard College is the complete opposite- even the name "sent a cold chill into the warmth of the drag and nobody dared mention it again." This vivid description and tactile imagery highlights the characters' willingness to move away from the College. There is quite a stark contrasting of settings in the novel- the differences between the events at the College and the picnic grounds of the Hanging Rock are quite numerous. Those at the picnic ground are experiencing "a delicious freedom" which was mentioned on page 14 and has clearly continued in the novel from then onwards, as opposed to a strict, limited freedom, a caged animal out of its cage for a stretch and then caged once more. However, back at the College, Sara Waybourne is left behind, and is locked into her room alone because she cannot learn the poetry she has been given by Mrs Appleyard. The girls are reminded in the novel that even this taste of freedom is only temporary. Sitting in the drag, the girls ask to remove their hats, and have already quite willingly removed their gloves. The presence of authority remains; Miss McCraw shoots down any hope of removing yet another piece of clothing that binds the girls to the College. "And re-entered the world of pure uncluttered reason," reinforces the concept that the world of authority is not completely separated from the world at Hanging Rock. The girls find that being away from the building does not necessarily mean being away from the College

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