Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This thesis explores the question, inherent to the fiction of both Canada and Australia as settler colonies, of what images are used to depict the motherland, and how this depiction affects the new colony's ability to create its sense of distinctiveness.;Examining critical studies of these national fictions in conjunction with those novels by four prominent Australian and Canadian authors which most closely examine the relationship between colony and Britain, this study uncovers four recurrent themes related to establishing a distinctive sense of self: the conception of opposing images of Britain and the new home; the experience of exile as a process leading to decreased insecurity; the establishment of a new relationship with the colonial landscape; and the necessity of discovering one's personal power in the face of marginalization, by British or even colonial social norms.;The study next examines the four groups of texts individually, showing how each author emphasizes different aspects of these four foci, and demonstrating how alterations in the images of the motherland affect the characters' views of how to achieve independence. An exploration of Boyd's images of Britain uncovers the problem of how to differentiate Australia from its British heritage without duplicating the motherland's creation of rigid identities that suppress the potential for growth. A chapter on White's work suggests one solution: refusing to turn any single view of Australia's past into a national monument. Duncan's texts are shown to advocate a familial metaphor of the colonial relationship, suggesting that political bonds, like family roles, must shift over time. Hodgins, finally, recommends looking at present relationships in order to break past ones.;Of the numerous similar methods used by Australians and Canadians to explain their relationship with Britain, imagery of an emotional bond is among the strongest. The colony is invariably depicted as requiring the process of loving and later missing the other in order to attain maturity. The tension between those who wish to replicate the parent culture and those who reject it also produces a need for communities which replace the "mother," their power arising from the ability to perceive freshly through rejecting conformity.



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