The language of the short story “Heart is Where the Home is” by Thea Astley combines Standard English with Aboriginal English—a more basic version of the language— which might make the story harder to follow by readers. However, the use of Aboriginal English is important because it gives the story the local colour and makes the characters more authentic:

The other women got scared, fixed to the spot like they grow there, all shakin and whimperin. Stuck. ‘You'll be trouble,’ they warned. ‘You'll be trouble.’
‘Don't care,’ she said. "They not takin my kid.’ 

The author mixes descriptive and narrative passages with dialogue and free indirect speech. “But no. The buggers just took it. Took it and took it.” is an example of free indirect speech reproducing the opinion of the policemen and not that of the narrator.


Imagery is a language feature which helps to show readers the setting or the way characters act and look through descriptive words. Here is one example of imagery depicting the setting of the rain forest:

She wormed her way into the thickest part of the rain forest, following the river, well away from the track up n...

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