A COLLECTION OF “Swallow the Air Quotes”

Swallow the Air
by Tara June
Quotes + Language Forms
and Features
Chapter 1: Swallow the Air
“She shuffled us out like two
jokers in her cards reminding us
to go to Auntie’s house before
dark, and telling us again she
loved us.”
Cloud Busting
 P22:
Billy and May: “ We get drunk on the salt air
and laughter. We empty our lungs and weigh
ourselves cross-legged to the seabed.”
[hyperbole / assonance /
Anyway, Goulburn, ‘67.
“All my brothers and sisters had
been put into missions by then
except Fred.. And me.”
[simple sentence / euphemism
/ elipse / assonance ]
P 23: “The saucepans, she says, the
best bloody saucepans.”
[repetition / symbolism (western
middle-class cultural and social
symbol) / alliteration and
Quotes: Bleeding palm.
“ We were happy when Aunty was happy, laughing and yarning and
dancing around the yard.” [assonance / repetition / present-continuous
“ing” verbs)
“ We were like the morning ladies,
doing tai chi: out with the black
clouds, in with the white.”
[ simile / cultural allusion / contrast ]
“I began to hide my skin from the other beach, from this stretch
of cycleway.”
“I am invisible, I am earth, I am sand.”
“Oy, ya little coon bitch, what tha fuck do ya think ya doin?”
“I scrambled up and ran toward the water…”
“ This gunna show ya where ya don’t belong dumb black
84: “He was the monster I tried
to hide.”
86: “ That look, that exact face,
that was his anger face…that
anger face became his always
Quotes: The Block
At central, memories…
“You got family in the city too girl, gunna show ya where ya
don’t belong dumb black bitch, you don’t look like an Abo.”
“I felt Aboriginal, I felt like I belonged, but when mum left, I
stopped being Aboriginal. I stopped feeling like I belonged.
“We’re all family here, all blacks, here, from different places,
but we’re all one mob, this place here…”
“When you start to not feel the punch that lands
on her face, when you begin to see someone’s
broken heart instead of someone’s bruised veins,
when you know that cuz needs a beating to sort
him out, you begin to see love than hate, that real
sort of love, the sort that’s desperate and always
fighting. Fighting to be heard and stay.”
STATE a clear sentence which states a clear and specific
concept about “belonging / not belonging”
Give context
Give quote to “prove” the concept of belonging
Name the LFFs
EXPLAIN the effect of the LFFs in each quote
LINK to the specific “belonging or not belonging” concept
 what does it say about belonging for May and what
does it say about belonging in general (thesis statement).
Quotes: Just Dust
P 146-147:
“Issy says that the lake works like a heart, pumping its lifeblood
form under the skin…Everything is part of the heart, everything
is water…She says they (Whites) want to dig up the hearts, free
out the veins, dam up the values so they can live.”
Quotes: Country
“Six Years” P 179  since May’s mother has died.
this is the time scale of the book.
Percy: “We weren’t allowed to be what you’re
looking for, and we weren’t told what was right,
we weren’t taught by anyone…we weren’t
allowed to be Aboriginal.”-Pp181-182
Stolen Generations have disrupted the
storytelling cycle through families.
 May’s Mum must have gotten the legend from
books - ie Mungi and the Stingray.
Quotes: The Jacaranda Tree
A bouquet of blue jays”. P 189.
 Sense of place “It’s an odd thing, a backyard,
a little strip of nature, a little reminder of the rest of
it, elsewhere.” P 189
 Relate this to the pumping heart of lake Cowal
and Wiradjuri Country- P183
 “they
found her there, lying under that pest of a
tree…jacaranda petals and blood.” P 190
Quotes: Home
“ As all the salt hits me. I know what the word really means,
home.” P 194
“My mother knows that I am home, at the water I am always
“Aunty and my brother, we are from the same people, we are
of the Wiradjuri nation, hardwater.” P 194
“I couldn’t run from the pain and I couldn’t run from my family
“When Billy and me lost our mother, we lost ourselves. We
stopped swimming in the ocean…lost trust because we didn’t
want to touch something that was going to fall away. Like
bubbles, too delicate, too fragile, too brief.” P195
 The
tablecloth: “ I count a dozen or so,
some stuck to each other, some rotting.
Soft felt, crumpled mouldy lace, linen and
sticky stiff plastic..”
 ”Let’s go buy a new tablecloth,
Aunty!..”That’ll show ‘em lovies, Aunty ain’t
goin anywhere. Not with a new tablecloth
to wear in!”
relates to place and sense of time and
continuity, as well as family togetherness at
Tying ideas together
 Who
(what) gives May her greatest sense of
 Which
women (and where in the narrative) help
May realise who she is and where home is?
 Look
at her mother, her Aunt, and Joyce. Are any of
these women wholly positive in their support of
 Contrast
May’s father and Billy. Although she has
close connections with them – are these
connections positive or negative?
Place: Why does May have to
leave home to realise who she is?
Look at the negative associations of Paradise
Parade and the local racist gang.
Look at the kind of belonging at The Block and
the lack of resolution May finds at Lake Cowal.
However, she still identifies as Aboriginal, why????
Finally, how does May view Paradise Parade at
the end of the book, why has her attitude
P 196-7 Tablecloth metaphor represents the layers
of her journey and memories and the places
she’s been.

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