Swallow The Air

Task 1

Chapter One: Swallow The Air

This chapter opens by May recalling the day she found her mother being sick. She clearly thinks of the deep sorrow that was tackled to her mother and how she brought them up with her brother Billy during their early ages. In this chapter we clearly see that May discovers a stingray that actually swallowed its struggle and she speculated whether it had smothered in the air. It will be further seen that May depicts this stingray as a true angel dropped and reclined on its back. As the chapter comes to a close we realize that the two kids travel to their Auntie’s home to stay with her. She consoles them about their mother’s depart. This makes May to relate her with Jesus for reason that she was geared at saving and guarding their lives. This chapter is characterized by extreme flashbacks that make May to capture back their lives before her mother’s suicide. There is also a strong use of emotive language that makes the reader to sympathize with May’s mother.

Chapter Twelve: Painted Dreaming

In this chapter we clearly see the pain and misery that May undergoes in her pursuit for her identity. May moves along to intermingle with several streeties. They are cleared out from the camps by what she referred to them as pigs. They moved from chipboard gate to another probing for ways of surviving. It was very vigorous as some of them jumped through the windows. From the chapter we see that they were forced to stay in the cage for about four hours where they were undressed and given some tracksuits and submitted their names. Windradyne was actually angry with this because there was a lot of betrayal. When he visited the cage May was now relieved and knew she would leave the city. There were no charges set to them and after the four hours were over May was given her clothes, got changed and left the cage. This chapter actually tries to reveal the pain that she underwent in search of her sense of belonging. It will be realized that in this chapter the author relies on use of similes and metaphors and colloquial language. The language used is by large extend informal especially when he refers to the people who came to clear them out of the camps as pigs. The use of similes is noted when she says that some people jumped out the windows like horses that participate in high jumps. The author continues to use similes by saying that some two metal malarkey beds wedged out of render like trays of a forklift. Jane Winch uses metaphors in this chapter for instance when she argues that they shot paint on the face of the officer making his eyes to bleed his blindness.

Chapter Seventeen: Mission

The chapter title essentially prefigures the dull and miserable missionary May undergoes when searching her family. Therefore this chapter extends to disclose the reality of the Aboriginals’ lives particularly those living within the missionary. It is truly centered on the lives of various Aboriginal groups since the settlement of the whites in Australia. Winch extends to portray the missionary’s landscape so as to reflect their spiritual understanding loss and the indefinite background which in turn results to the anonymity of identity. From the chapter we discover how the government and the Catholic Church influence the young people through the dialogue with Graham. Based on the chapter we realize that May is directed to Jo who was Betty’s daughter. Jo gives May a ride towards the rest of the family of Gibson. The author basically stresses on the use of personification. The personification of the walls of the church when it chips off its aged sermon brings about the idea the lifeless within the town but the truth is concealed by the rich bright fascia of paint. The chapter also lies on the motif of the contrast of forgetting and remembering. The government fails to think about the problems of the people while planning to carry out its functions.

Task 2 ………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Hill, L. (2012, March 22). Swallow the Air, by Tara June Winch | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog. ANZ LitLovers LitBlog | For lovers of Australian and New Zealand literary fiction; Ambassador for Australian literature. Retrieved July 3, 2013, from




Swallow the air was written by Tara June Winch who was an indigenous Australian author. This novel has been on the reading lists for Year 12 nearly since its release in 2006 which makes it to be a superior text to launch to the youthful people for an indigenous writing. Swallow the air is thought to be confronting for the reason that June writes with perplexing forthrightness in regard to the indigenous lifestyles and issues nevertheless its also inspiring, stunning and repeatedly rather funny. It can thus be said that it refuses to accept any efforts to typecast indigenous communities head on which makes Lisa Hill to like it.

This novel is composed of twenty short chapters where it can be considered that each chapter tends to be a short story although they notify a chronological narrative. It is further noted that each chapter is truly concerned with May Gibson’s attempts in creating sense that revolves around her world. May is fifteen and lives in Wollongong. It is true according to Lisa Hill that there are a number of dark themes that arise in this novel. There is suicide, domestic violence, discrimination, poverty, alcohol and drug abuse and depression. May’s indigenous mother commits suicide which necessitates May and Billy who was her brother move to reside with their Auntie. Domestic and drunkenness forces them away. This makes May travel to Sydney to look for her Aboriginal family. On her way she comes across interesting people, some assistance and kindness and also a lot of misery and pain.

Tara Winch employs an atypical combination of metaphoric and colloquial language which is very crucial to the impact of the text. The language that she uses is informal especially when she refers them as pigs that in turn came to clear them out. In other cases her language departs beyond the colloquial and moves to Aboriginal vernacular as she repeatedly uses some of the words from her typical background. There is simplicity in the language structure though there is liberal utilization of imagery. The title of the novel can in fact be thought as a metaphor for becoming aware of the world.

There is an extensive use of similes, personification, humor and contrast. It will be realized that Jane Winch clearly uses personification to ensure that the experience of May appears alive to any person who reads the novel and to accentuate the significance of her belonging to the society. She uses similes for instance when she says that some of them jumped out the windows like horses. The severe details of May and the harsh lives of the family are clearly contrasted to the loveliness of Aboriginal Dreaming.




Task 3

It will be realized that the interaction of individuals with one another and the surrounding world can either limit or enrich their belonging experience. As soon as the sense of identity of the individuals is corrupted by means of prejudicial attitudes then they are left vulnerable and exposed which in turn results to a sense of displacement and isolation within the society. The ability of the individuals to endorse changes in the society is basically influenced by the adversities they undergo in their effort to conform and the identity connectedness that in reality originates from acceptance. It will be documented that in Swallow the air novel that was written by Tara June Winch core concepts are adopted where ideas and perceptions of belonging are purely shaped within social, historical, cultural and personal perspectives defining who are eventually ending up into a sense and an understanding of oneself. This notion also resonates in The Red Tree picture book by Shaun Tan and also in the figurative picture book The Island by Armin Greder. It will be recognized that in these three texts the potential of individual’s sacrifices that one makes so as to belong and also the perceptions and attitudes that hinder or permit the quest of an individual to search his or her place in the world are explored.

Scholars reveal it that the relationships that exist within the people and their surrounding world can restrict or enhance their expedition of security and acceptance. In the novel, swallow the air it evocatively alludes to the ideas of May who was termed as the protagonist in the whole story. It is believed that the search for the belonging sense can sometimes be potentially unbearable but the individual can enrich the society by investigating how belonging can confront their self and the world’s understanding. Throughout June’s Swallow the air, May truly feels vulnerable and secluded to get an authentic place of security.

In cloud busting which is the third chapter May’s mother tell her a story that entails her own mother. She tells her that when her mother died she gave her some pots. This brings about a sense of belonging making her to feel being part of the society. In this chapter, the reader now learns about the grandmother of May and her friendship with the salesman which paves way in revealing her relationship within the community. It will be realized that the sense of May of belonging to Aboriginal culture and family is purely linked with the stories that her mother usually tells her. She reveals that she felt Aboriginal since her mother told her that she got courage and magic from Gungyarri who was a spirit man making her feel belonged to the society.

In this novel the language of belonging is precisely used. It will be realized that Swallow the air begins with a line that draws us to the story of May. This is necessitated by its use of the conversational tone where she remembers the day she found her mother being ill. The strong emotive language that is being used in this story makes the reader to sympathize with her mother and her story in general.

In Grab which is the second chapter of the novel, the writer makes use of personal pronouns to clearly position the booklover to recognize Aunty. The humor that fully revolves around this chapter stabilizes the dreadful reality that Aunty turns out to be alcoholic and a gambler. This slowly turns her to lose her belonging making her life to become troubled and chaotic. Her brother Billy also turns out to be addicted to drugs up to a point where she says that she didn’t know him. Swallow the air effectively employs dialogues that help to show their belonging. It can be shown from the novel that May characteristically converse in broad slang and Australian idiom together with her family. The joking and informal language they employ precisely reveals their belonging as an entire family. The use of metaphors in Swallow the air help in linking and unifying the ideas of alienation and belonging. At the opening of the novel we clearly see that May discovers a stingray that actually swallowed its struggle and speculated whether it had smothered in the air. It will be further seen that May depicts this stingray as a true angel dropped and reclined on its back. Later in the novel May envisages Aunty as true angel reclining out her wings underneath the sky’s satellites. Afterwards May was determined to find out where she belonged

In the fourteenth chapter, Just Dust, as May locates her way towards Lake Cowral we in fact discover the story of Issy who was an elder. From the story of Issy we find out that there is a superior, general sense of belonging revolving around the land within the Aboriginal culture where everything is thought to be a component of the heart and that everything is water. Eventually May locates her way towards the paradise parade which is basically her position in the world. She assumes that her mother knows that she is at home and that being at the water she is always at home.

Source: AceMyHW