The Flute family are made dysfunctional by the harsh rural landscape and the times they live in. Assess the validity of the statement in reference to Thursday’s Child.
In Sonya Hartnett’s “Thursday’s Child”, Harper narrates her family’s struggle to survive on the hot and impoverished land during the long years of the Great Depression in Australia. The author is able to show the family’s struggle by focusing the story on issues such as poverty, family disputes and the harsh landscape they live in. The times the novel is set in also plays an essential role in impacting the family itself.
Living during the Great Depression wasn’t easy for the Flutes due to financial difficulties and unemployment. These tough times had taken a big effect on Audrey and Devon having to acquire leadership and parental skills. Devon had to give up his dream on having a pony and eventually selling it. “He had ridden Champion into town and sold the horse. Doing so must have made him ache in every bone, for he had loved that creature”. Audrey had to work for their family’s enemy, Cable, in order to support her family as they were poor. “I have to do it. We need the money. We need it desperately, Izzy. My father- we can’t rely on him anymore.”
The different challenges experienced throughout the novel show the failure of Court (Da) and Thora’s (Mam) parenting. A moment where poor parenting skills are obvious was when Thora hands over the money over to Court. Court will use the money for alcohol rather than providing the children with new clothes, education and food. “From the quilted purse, she tipped a handful of coins. Da snatched them up and counted them”. When Da found out that Tin was the reason as to why the shanty had fallen down, he had reacted badly, yelling madly at Tin. “While Da yelled, he was motionless, but the moment Da slouched and dropped his head in his hands, Tin did what a cat does, given the chance to escape”. Upon the shanty collapsing, Court turns to alcohol. “Da bought the whisky with the money”. Thora struggles with the disappearance of her children and the death of Caffy, and evidently becomes an emotional wreck.
The Flute family are made dysfunctional by the bleak landscape they live in. The Flutes are constantly at battle with nature. The landscape is ‘dry and dusty’ in summer and flooded with rain in winter, making it almost impossible to grow crops. “Summer passed and autumn came and with it came rain, the first we had seen for a year and a half, sometimes heavy and sometimes light”. With the Flutes having crop failure, it makes them unable to grow proper vegetables and instead having to eat down rabbits hunted down by Da.
In conclusion, it is clear that the Flute family had struggled a lot to try and pull their family through the tough times of the Great Depression. Devon and Audrey having to find work and sell their belongings clearly showed Court and Thora’s inability to be good parents. Living in an area where there was crop failure did not help with to resolve their problems either.