Heart is Where the Home is


This study guide will help you analyse the text “Heart is Where the Home is” by Thea Astley. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, structure, characters, setting, narrator and point of view, language, themes and message.

Presentation of the text

Title: “Heart is Where the Home is”
Author: Thea Astley
Published in: It's Raining in Mango
Date of Publication: 1987
Genre: Short Story (novel excerpt)

Thea Astley (1925-2004) was an Australian writer of short stories and novels. Her numerous literary works brought her various national awards and she was one of the few female authors in Australia to achieve popularity during her lifetime. “Heart is Where the Home is” is part of the novel It's Raining in Mango, which follows the history of the Laffey family over more than a century, paralleled with four Aboriginal generations.


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Physical setting

The events in the story take place in the area of Cooktown, with the main physical settings being the Aboriginal camp, the rain forest, and the Laffey property. The rain forest which separates the camp from the Laffey house is depicted in detail, as the main character, Nelly, crosses it with her child. The forest and the river also have a symbolical function. The forest symbolises the labyrinth-like path to salvation. The Laffey property is also presented as Nelly crosses the fence and heads desperately to the Laffey house...

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Heart is Where the Home is

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