It was not the children that were stolen, but their soul
Jane Harrison’s novel Stolen shows how children’s souls are stolen and the tragic effects of it. The main five characters, representing Stolen Generations which refers to the children being taken away from their Aboriginal family, had different life experiences. It is their experiences reflect their stolen souls, including loss of culture, misunderstanding of personal identity and destroyed emotional and spiritual world.
There is no doubt that being taken away from family and parents leading to a nonsense of their culture. Understanding of a specific culture is gained by immersion in it.
Without growing up with and learning the culture, people can’t find connection between themselves and where they should belong to. Showed in Stolen, Sandy, the oldest child when was taken, had a better knowledge to the Aboriginal culture. The story of “Mungee” and the fact that “women put sand in themselves to stop raping” indicates Sandy’s understanding. However, the other four characters always wondering “where am I belonged to”, they got lost because they had no idea about the environment and background of where they should be grown up with.
Being stolen from their parents results in the lack of belonging due to stolen history. It is the children’s personal identities that being stolen as a result of taken away from parents. Without love and care from family but a burden of hard work. The children in home centre were unprotected and tired. Ruby, “an used and abandoned girl”, ended up in a mental hospital murmuring “I got a lot to do” and “I need no home”. She couldn’t recognize her parents and sister any more, even didn’t know who she was and where she came from. On the other hand, Anne seems to live happier.
Being adopted by a friendly white couple, Anne enjoyed a better material treatment than others. Although she knew that “we chose you”, she tried to tanned herself, seeing herself as a white girl. “You mother is an Aboriginal”, Anne was confused about who she was and where she belonged to. Struggling between the two families – the white one or the aboriginal one, Anne still het hurt. Being stolen as a young little girl, Anne not only lost the chance to stay with her family, but also experienced a lack of self-understanding. Undoubtedly, the children’s emotional and spiritual world was ruined because of the stolen.
They suffered a lot, like working as a slave, unspoken abuse, and concealment of truth. Jimmy, who almost forget his name was Willy, cried for his mother everyday when he was in the children centre. “You mother is not coming for you. She’s dead. ”, told the despicable woman who “took great care” of the children. Sandy was indeed heart broken and eventually committed suicide after knowing the death of his beloved mother. Furthermore, Shirley suffered twenty-seven-year long separation. “I hold her in my arm once, and not have a second chance for over twenty years. Never give up looking for her children, Shirley was the most lucky one. “She now have a mother and a grandmother, that’s all that matter. ” When the nurse asked Shirley to give the baby, Shirley cried and felt herself awkward, that’s all due to the terrible experience she had, and the whole Stolen Generations as well. From all discussed above, we can see that Jane Harrison shows how children’s souls were stolen in many layers, including the lack in their own culture and personal identity, as well as the badly hurt emotion and spirit.