Literary Analysis Of Chloe Hooper's 'The Tall Man'

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The Tall Man by Australian author Chloe Hooper is an expository text published in 2008, exploring the death of an Aboriginal man named Cameron Doomadgee while in police custody on Palm Island, an Aboriginal reserve off the coast of Queensland. On the morning of November 19th, 2004, Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, a White Australian police officer, arrested Doomadgee for allegedly causing a public nuisance. Less than hour after his arrest, Doomadgee was pronounced dead in his cell. Sufficient evidence was found to lead the Deputy Coroner to find Hurley responsible for Doomadgee’s death. Doomadgee’s death served as a catalyst for civic disturbances on the island, and a legal, political, and media sensation that continued for three years. Hooper’s…show more content…
Hooper urges the reader to accept that in the context of colonial Australia, Aboriginals faced such extreme oppression that they resorted to summoning spirits to doom their cruel white colonisers. She recounts a walk to a cave in Cape York, where she intentionally selects paintings depicting destructive images of white colonisers being “doomed”, highlighting the rifles which the white troopers brandished. The marginalised Aboriginals resigned to using “purri purri” (sorcery) against the police, which emphasises the idea that in this context, the Aboriginals felt so oppressed that they resorted to conjuring spirits for protection. Hooper describes a painting in which under a white man’s shirt, “he was reptilian”, and the adjective “reptilian” allows the audience to understand that in this context, the Aboriginals felt so threatened that they had to draw the trooper as a snake. In Aboriginal culture, the snake symbolises protection of the land of Aboriginal people, whom believed that a man would be harmed if the symbol was drawn upon him. My understanding of the oppression in which Aboriginal Australians faced in colonial Australia invoked feelings of anger and disgust, and reinforced pre-existing attitudes I have on discrimination and the corrupt police

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