Crow Country, written is an Australian novel, which shadows the life of a young girl named Sadie, compelled by crows, to go back in time to right the wrongs from a terrible crime which occurred in her home town of Boort, during 1933. Through the author’s contrast of perspective, attitudes and values, Kate is able to effectively reflect upon many Australian values, most notably that of integrity. Characters such as Gerry and Craig Mortlock, demonstrate a lack of moral principles, whilst the protagonists, Clarry and Sadie Hazzard, display increased integrity as the novel progresses. These differing attitudes towards ethical conduct, position the reader to feel deep sympathy for those negatively affected and victimised by immoral actions.
During the course of the novel, the protagonists, Clarry and Sadie, mature significantly; developing an awareness from the cemented value of racial prejudice, which ultimately leads to them emerging as admirable role models for integrity. Clarry’s response to finding out that Jimmy Raven’s name is opposed to being put on the memorial shows his maturing values. Despite what anyone else in the town thinks about a white man defending an Aboriginal, Clarry decides to act according to his moral principles, defending one of his good friends, Jimmy.
Another protagonist, Sadie, displays great integrity and courage while defending her Aboriginal friend Walter. Sadie was afraid to humiliate herself in front of Lachie, a boy who she is quite fond of. She still reinforces her moral principles by defending Walter when Jules said, “You kids – off” (Pg. 75) even though it is rightfully Walter’s turn to play a game of pool. Sadie’s protestation “This isn’t fair!” (Pg. 76) clearly shows Sadie criticising Lachie, for their unjust behaviour towards Walter. Through these events, the author positions the reader to feel optimistic that white communities can stand up for their own values and not be scrutinized by their choices but instead, admired for the integrity that they uphold.
The author showed the very worst of what defines us as Australians through characters such as Gerald and Lachie Mortlock. Lachie’s heartless and bigoted great grandfather, Gerald Mortlock, displays a lack of morality throughout the entire novel, specifically in the scene depicting Gerry disrespecting Jimmy’s rights to oppose the dam issue. Gerry’s statement “You can’t tell me what to do on my own land!” (Pg. 88) outlines how he is morally bankrupt and unable to rationally communicate with Jimmy. Jimmy continues the feud by adding, “I’m tellin’ you, it’s wrong! It’s against the Law, all the Laws, you can’t do this thing; you mustn’t do it!” (Pg. 88), this shows how Jimmy is trying to protect his sacred, spiritual land by defending his moral principles, thus displaying integrity.
With his disloyal and egoistic behaviours, Craig’s son, Lachie, also shows a paucity of ethical conduct. After Sadie shows Lachie the sacred place and tells him not to tell anyone, Lachie assures her that he won’t tell anyone when he said, “Okay, mate. It’s your place, is it? I won’t tell anyone.” (Pg. 68), but Lachie’s loyalty is tested when Sadie finds him with his dad and two other friends taking advantage of the land. This positions the reader to view both of these characters in negative light, thus highlighting their lack of integrity.
In conclusion, through the author’s representations of contrasting characters’ attitudes and behaviours, she clearly reflects the best and worst of what defines us as Australians. Kate Constable’s characterisation of Clarry, Sadie, Gerry and Craig, enables the reader to discover the significance of integrity and how it’s positively persuasive messages influence individuals and societies.