A certain kindness

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2005
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- A Certain Kindness explores shame, secrets and a near past that is divided from the present by a line so thick that events that happened a few short decades ago can hardly be recognised in the context of today. It is a story about two women caught in a sticky web of morality, atonement, fear and survival: Meredith, who falls pregnant in the 1960s and loses her child through policies operating in Australia at that time; and Zoe, a state ward, who copes with a foster father’s illicit attention by flipping the tables on sexual power. Now middle-aged, these women’s lives are witness to the past. Meredith is so traumatised by events related to relinquishing her child that she is suffering dissociative disorder. Central to her distress is the experience of having a pillow placed over her face when her baby was bom. This was a common practice in hospitals in Australia during the 1960s. It was supposed to prevent young women from bonding with their illegitimate babies, and as a result make it easier for them to sign adoption papers. The policy was considered kind and in the girls’ best interests, although many women have suffered long term mental health problems as a result. This work of fiction is an attempt to show how aberrant policies are justified and the reticence of society to acknowledge their impact even today. By exploring these issues within the consciousness of characters as well as against the social backdrop of changing times, A Certain Kindness aims to expose a range of human motivations without making judgement or taking sides.
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