Decisions Made by Will Thornhill in the Secret River

Major Essay

In Kate Grenville’s novel The Secret River Will Thornhill is forced to make many hard

decisions which ultimately have concequences, either good or bad, which in turn have a
major impact on his life and that of his family. Times were tough and many of Will decisions
are made out of nessity rather than greed. Throughout the novel, Will only wants what is
best for his family and and at his own risk will see to it that their needs are met.

At page 37 in the novel Will Thornhill makes a very substaintial decision that will have a
great baring on the rest of his life. The decision to marry Sal. This decision is not made for
any other reason other than love. From the moment Sal’s character is introduced into the
novel, their connection and fondness for one another is made clear to the reader. Will’s
marriage to Sal will eventually save his life with it being her idea ask ‘creeping jesus’ to write
the letter that see’s his charge of death reduced to transportation. Will’s marraige to Sal and
the children that follow, shape Will’s life to the extent that every decision he makes will
affect his family and their future.

After doing his time as an apprentice Will is happy making his life on the River Thames,
riding the tides and being master of his own vessel. But no matter how hard Will works it is
still a daily struggle to meet the needs of his growing family which. The temptation of a
quick and easy profit coupled with the desire to provide a better life for his family compels
Will to make a decision that almost cost him his life. On page 55 in the novel Will and his
accomplices decide to steal a load of Brasil wood. He is caught and finds himself in prison
with his only hope, thatt of recieving a quick death. This does not eventuate but being
transported to New South Wales as a convict was a direct consequence of his own actions
and desire for a better life for him and his family.

Although Will and his family...