The Thorn Birds Essay Research Paper The

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The Thorn Birds Essay, Research Paper The Thorn Birds The novel, The Thorn Birds, is a very well written story about a family living in a poorer section of New Zealand whose livelihood is shearing sheep. The money for the family depends almost solely on the sheep. In the family, there is Padraic Cleary (Paddy), the father of the clan. He is a likable man who commands respect from his children and from those who know him. His wife, Fiona Cleary (Fee), is a woman with a past who loves her children, respects her husband but is living in a world that she did not want, but accepted it as her only possible way of life. Then there are Fee and Paddy’s children, Frank, Meghann (Meggie), Hughie, Jack, Stuart (Stu), Bob, and the twins, Jims and Patsy, but the story revolves almost

entirely around their only girl, Meggie. When Meggie was about 10 years old, Paddy’s older sister, Mary Carson, beckoned Paddy to come work for her on her very large, very wealthy ranch in New South Wales, Australia, Drogheda. The family fell in love with Drogheda, even though they had to put up with drought, fire, and a climate that they were not used to. The boys in the family lived for Drogheda, and were the main work force of the ranch, herding sheep and cattle from one paddock to another, and working very hard during the most profitable time of the year, the shearing season, and the most hectic, the lambing season. Paddy was an immigrant from Ireland to New Zealand and was a devout Catholic, along with most Australians. Upon arriving to Drogheda, the Cleary family met

Father Ralph, a friend of Mary Carson, a constant visitor to Drogheda, and the local priest of the closest town to Drogheda, Gillabon. The rest of the story rotates around the relationship between Father Ralph who later became Bishop Ralph and finally, Cardinal Ralph, and Meggie. The Cleary family lived through one of the worst droughts in Australia, and the terrible fire that followed, destroying most of Drogheda’s outer pastures and killing Paddy, and Stuart in the process. They also had to deal with the problem of rabbits. The rabbits were foreigners to Australia, and once introduced, reproduced out of control due to the fact that there were no natural predators in Australia to kill them. The rabbits, along with the kangaroos, were devouring most of Drogheda’s grazing

land. Through it all though, Drogheda remained a constant source of pleasure and money for the Cleary family. Meggie had two children, Justine and Dane. Both very different in personality, and in looks. Meggie marries a shearer turned stockman fo Drogheda, Luke O’Neill, and from their marriage, Justine was born. Dane was from another man, but, the father, nor Dane or Justine knew who it was, only Fee and Meggie knew that secret. The author of Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough, is a highly talented writer. Throughout the novel, she describes the scenery with much detail. She should be an expert on the topic, since New South Wales, Australia is her home. The detail and description of the people and the places, which she goes deeply into, makes the reader feel as if she is actually

experiencing the same things as the characters. She goes explains throughly as to how Drogheda is managed and how it looks. Mrs. McCullough definitely knows what she’s talking about and her writing shows it. For work with the sheep never, never ended; as one job finished it became time for another. They were mustered and graded, moved from one paddock to another, bred and unbred, shorn and crutched, dipped and drenched, slaughtered and shipped off to be sold. Drogheda carried about a thousand head of prime beef cattle as well as its sheep, but sheep were far more profitable, so in good times Drogheda carried about one sheep for every two acres of its land, or about 125,000 altogether. Being merinos, they were never sold for meat; at the end of a merino’s wool-producing years