Salt of our blood

Elsmore-Neilson, Mary
George, James
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Master of Creative Writing
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Auckland University of Technology

My creative work of the heroine's journey in Salt Of Our Blood originated when I noticed the absence of independent strong matriarchal characters and realized the predominance of the stories of patriarchal male heroes such as James Bond and Superman. Both are larger-than-life cartoon characters of the contemporary western world and possess mythical powers.

These powers emulate the legends and mythical characters of yesteryear, e.g. Homer's Achilles, the half-god son of a sea nymph and hero of the Trojan War in the Illiad while Greek hero Jason, who appears in Medea, leads the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece.

The introduction of my exegesis highlights my concerns of: those who have no voice in society, or on the marae and what happens to a society when the myths are lost, and what replaces them? A brief synopsis of my novel Salt of Our Blood is followed by the fact that the sea and human blood, sweat and tears inexplicably share the same proportion of salt. I also review my fascination for boats, seafarers and their tales, the myths of mankind and the history of trade (rats on ships spread disease world-wide) and exploration (Captain Cook, Darwin, Admiral Anson, Magellan) and mankind's eternal battle to overcome the vagaries of Mother Nature.

Discovering the work of the theorists who enlightened me and had an eureka effect on my work are: Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces and Robert McKee's Story: substance, style and the principles of screen writing. Those whose contributed to my understanding of Boehmer (1995), The Post-colonial studies reader, edited by Ashcroft, Griffths & Tiffin, (1997), The Empire Writes Back by Ashcroft, Griffths & Tiffin (2001), and Post-colonial Literatures in English by Dennis Walder (1998).

The influence of post colonial writers that I have long read and loved: The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1968), God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (1997), Disgrace by John M. Coetzee (2009), Tangi by Witi Ihimaera (1974) and Baby No-Eyes by Patricia Grace (1998) cannot be underestimated in the development of my style and the content of Salt of Our Blood.

The exegesis will elaborate on the research process and development of the understanding of my life experiences which have contributed to the near-completion of this fifth draft of my novel. [Note: The novel "Salt Of Our Blood" is available only in hard bound copy together with the exegesis]

Matriarchal characters , Voice in society
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